by Dr. Kathleen DeJardin
As the winter nights grow longer and days shorter we proclaim:
light against darkness;
warmth against cold;
hope against despair.
The One who created the stars of night lights our path and guides us into the way of peace.
Let us take a moment in silence to recall Christ’s presence among us.
As the cantor concludes this invitation and is seated, I have found that it takes a few seconds for the deep quiet of focused silence to settle over the assembly. For all to release the busyness of getting ready for the trip to church and finding a parking place… There are so few real opportunities for silence in our lives, especially at this time of year. For over a month we have been inundated with Christmas music, commercials, movies, decorations, etc. It is a challenge to remain firmly rooted in the season of Advent-the season of anticipation and waiting.
Over the past three weeks we have been musically steeped in our journey through the Advent season. In the first weeks of Advent, which focus on the ‘end times,’ the Second Coming of Christ, we sang “In the Day of the Lord,” and “Soon and Very Soon.” In these final weeks of Advent we sing the songs of anticipation for the First Coming of Christ in his birth in Bethlehem: “Maranatha (come), Lord Messiah,” “Come, Come Emmanuel,”
Our Song of Sending Forth this weekend is “O Come, O Come, Emmanuel, where we sing the O Antiphons. The Church has been singing these antiphons since the early 8th century. The antiphons accompany the Magnificat of Evening Prayers from December 17-23 and use ancient biblical imagery from the Old Testament to proclaim the Coming Christ as the fulfillment of our longing for the Divine Messiah. Take note of these verses: O Wisdom, O Lord of Might, O Key of David, O Rod of Jesse’s stem, O Dayspring, O Desire of Nations. During “Maranatha, Lord Messiah” a modern interpretation of the O Antiphons begins each verse.
This weekend’s Gathering Song, “Awake! Awake and Greet the New Morn,” serves as a bridge song to our long anticipated Christmas music. “Sing out your joy for soon he is born; behold the Child of our longing!”
This is the longest Advent season possible, since Christmas is next Sunday; we have a full week of Advent remaining. More time remaining to take care of final preparations, gift shopping, cooking, etc., but I encourage you (and I challenge myself as well!!) to find some quiet time, time to be thankful, to reflect on Christ’s Presence in our lives. Take time to read today’s gospel again and use your imagination to become a part of the Nativity.
The Priests and Staff at Holy Trinity have been busy preparing to welcome literally the thousands of parishioners and guests who will attend our Christmas Masses. The Christmas Eve Masses begin at 4:00pm in both Church and Trinity Hall-the doors to both spaces will open at 3:00pm. This is the only Mass celebrated in both spaces. The 4:00pm Mass in the Church will also be live streamed. These 4:00pm Masses will be followed by Masses at 5:45pm, 7:30pm, and 9:30pm. The Christmas Day schedule begins with Lessons and Carols at 11:20pm and the Mass at Midnight. Christmas morning Masses are celebrated at 9:30am and 11:30am. The 11:30am Mass will also be live streamed. There will be no Sunday 5:30pm Mass on Christmas Day.
I hope this Advent season has been one of hope and peace as we await the joy of Christ’s birth!