Solstice & Christmas Musical Meditation

A little bit of a youtube link frenzy follows…

So this started out with me thinking of something for the Winter Solstice and wondering what musical stuff we could listen to as a collective that would reflect this turn of the year. In the end the most fitting tribute to the end of the longest night seemed to be to get together for a walk, but I thought as we’re all scattered to the four winds for the rest of this holiday season, I might as well share some internet based joy for us all instead.

Midwinter’s always been one of my favourite festivals, even before I knew it existed, my subconscious mind had tuned in to the changes in light, and I have long looked forward to this tipping point in the year. From here onwards, however long and dark the nights, it’s still getting lighter. This year, having contained much sorrow, reflections in the shadows seem most apt. I think that’s probably what I appreciate most about this poem:

Winter Solstice Shadows

I thought that same mood infuses this song, aptly named Solstice Song by Finley & Pagdon:

Someone has also set some lovely winter landscapes to a piece of music by Enya entitled And Winter Came:

And then there is another video, this time with music from Fleet Foxes, but with a beautiful series of slides that take you right through the cycle of the year:


After listening to these reflecting the dark season, it seemed a matter of balance to then look to the opposite theme, the returning of the light. A random search for the words “not so dark” came up with this little gem:

And then (I almost feel like I should say, of course!) something from Hildegard of Bingen… Lux Vivens (Living Light):


Finally, I thought a focus on Christmas itself, the incarnation.

Along that theme this Santa vs Jesus spoken word thing seemed good entertainment, as well as food for thought:

In particular, it brought out for me, the focus on Jesus being Emmanuel, God with us; our brother, Jesus. Which of course links seamlessly to this piece of music:

And I think that theme ties in with another, most elegantly expressed through the medium of song:


Challenging doesn’t even begin to cover the title of that one! So here’s something else Christmassy and lighthearted to cheer us up… look out for the guinea pigs:



1st Sunday in Advent: The Prophets and Peace

Today’s Collect:

Almighty God, give us grace to cast away the works of darkness, and put on the armor of light, now in the time of this mortal life in which your Son Jesus Christ came to visit us in great humility; that in the last day, when he shall come again in his glorious majesty to judge both the living and the dead, we may rise to the life immortal; through him who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and for ever. Amen.

The focus of the sermon today was on the “awake” theme of the reading from Romans 13 and Matthew 24. The minister focused on the idea of advent as a season to… erm… stir us up and make us more alert in our faith. Though it mostly struck me with the talk of oversleeping, as I’ve a new job, and that’s a real fear at the moment! (that and the previously mentioned humerous use of language… but I digress).

But I thought about the reading from Isaiah a lot more this evening, especially watching collective’s tribe running around playing with toy guns and swords and playing at war games.

The word that Isaiah son of Amoz saw concerning Judah and Jerusalem.

In days to come
the mountain of the LORD’s house
shall be established as the highest of the mountains,
and shall be raised above the hills;
all the nations shall stream to it.
Many peoples shall come and say,
“Come, let us go up to the mountain of the LORD,
to the house of the God of Jacob;
that he may teach us his ways
and that we may walk in his paths.
For out of Zion shall go forth instruction,
and the word of the LORD from Jerusalem.
He shall judge between the nations,
and shall arbitrate for many peoples;
they shall beat their swords into plowshares,
and their spears into pruning hooks;
nation shall not lift up sword against nation,
neither shall they learn war any more.
O house of Jacob,
come, let us walk
in the light of the LORD!

That, especially that last bit, is something so desperately needed. As adults, we long for it, even when we can’t imagine how the world could possibly be at peace, let alone forseeing a way to achieve that. Some long for peace because they have seen war first hand, or have cared for those who return with scars in body and mind. Some feel a fierce indignation, a longing for justice, for all wrongs to be righted. Some despair, finding it all too fucked up and beyond any repair.

But my thinking this evening was much more prosaic and earthy… how do we pass that longing on to the next generation. In a culture where even most “goodies” and superheroes fight with weapons of great destructive force… how do we enthuse them about peace? Experiments so far include “The Dragon of Peace” (creative but not entirely popular), problem solving ways to avoid fighting over disagreements, and encouraging time out to relax and practically manage times of cranky temper (both of which are more matters of survival I think anyway!).

And then the Psalm, 122… all about peace within the city of God, “at unity with itself.” And I look at us all, the church, and I think God help us. But of course he will, so that’s something.

Any constructive comments from the world wide web on peaceful children, world peace and peace and unity within the church gratefully received. To be honest, so few people read this anyway, I’ll probably be grateful even if they’re not constructive… or even if they’re from a spambot… Fishing, so I’ll stop now.


So… every now and then I come across a blog in the world of the internets that makes me want to yell… that’s so true… and that… and that… and I get a little bit addicted. My latest Obsession is Jamie the Very Worst Missionary.

Particular Delicacies include this outstandingly simple observation on being depressed when you’re a Christian… (for any Brits who actually read this, I researched, Zoloft = Sertraline). I’m not sure that it gets any easier even if you’re not surrounded by Christianese… at least if this rather witty series of cartoons are anything to go by…

21 Comics that capture the frustration of depression

Anyway the next favourite example was this one, from later in the same year, I believe a friend of mine would refer to this understanding as “flow”… I quite like the Taco is Amazing… TA for short 🙂

And then something which made me smile the first time I read and even more so after church this morning. (During which the visiting minister kept making reference to God’s Spirit arousing people… I think he meant rousing from sleep… but it wasn’t a little slip of the tongue… he kept repeating the phrase… all through the sermon! I had to keep my eyes firmly fixed on the chair in front and bite my bottom lip… I don’t have a subtle laugh and its an echoey kind of building)