In our feature article Our Christmas Music, Ron Friesen helps us to appreciate the care that is given by those who prepare worship for the Christmas season. Such preparation is a delicate balance between being mindful of traditions while keeping things fresh. We need such care so that this season moves beyond the nostalgic and brings the gospel’s message to life for us once more.
While I too, cherish holding lighted candles in a darkened sanctuary while singing Silent Night, Holy Night!, new music, that once was quite foreign to me, now stirs my soul as well; Light One Candle to Watch for Messiah in Advent and Christ, Be Our Light during Epiphany; and also some that were not part of my Christmases until recently such as Of the Father’s Love Begotten (from the 13th century) and Jesus, What a Wonderful Child (African American traditional). They and many others, well worn and fresh, stir hopes and memories in me as we sing them.
Because of this article, I will be a bit more mindful of our Christmas music this year. It would also be well for us to pause to be mindful of the many who do so much to provide our pageants and concerts and services. And if you haven’t done so in the past, why not take a moment to let such people know how much their efforts are appreciated?
You probably won’t sing about it but a word, a wink, a smile or wave of appreciation is always appropriate and for some, may be as heartwarming as holding candles in the dark and singing Silent Night, Holy Night!
If you sometimes wonder about the virgin birth of Jesus, you may find the discussion on the history of the imagery helpful and the significance that has been given to it. (see Q & A p. 15)
There are always a few things in our synod sections that remind me of the vitality of our church. Here’s a random sampling worth your consideration: Some things youth are saying about our congregations (p. 18), urban farming in Edmonton (p. 19), chaplaincy at Luther College (p. 22), 30 years of refugee sponsorship (p. 26), and a Good Food Market in Toronto (p. 29).
Into the Word (p. 31) helps us consider the practice of creative non-violence and restorative justice; skills always needed in our troubled world that help to give flesh to the angels’ song of peace to God’s people on earth.
Kenn Ward, Editor