Yesterday we finally got a tree up thanks to our Goddaughter Alanah and cheerful help. Last night I was able to take in the Windsor Symphony’s Christmas program at the St. Clair Centre for the Performing Arts. It was a great evening indeed and had the added bonus of giving us opportunity to see Alanah sing in the Choir – they were all marvellous. The symphony, under the direction of John Morris Russell was wonderful. The giftedness in the Windsor-Essex Community is tremendous. The evening also included a wonderfully fresh re-telling of Charles Dickens “A Christmas Carol.” The whole abbreviated story was told by one voice, on stage while the actors played out their parts in silence. It was very well done. The evening was completed when a very ‘familiar sounding’ Santa arrived and danced on stage with the kids. I must say he can really sing well too. A good Christian man like that belongs in church choir!  The whole evening was well done and was a great foretaste for the Christmas celebration to come this week.  

 

From that great work of Dickens comes these words: “I have always thought of Christmas time, when it has come round, as a good time; a kind, forgiving, charitable time; the only time I know of, in the long calendar of the year, when men and women seem by one consent to open their shut-up hearts freely, and to think of people below them as if they really were fellow passengers to the grave, and not another race of creatures bound on other journeys.” This is indeed a time of year which gives us special permission to put aside all that restricts us from others. We seem more prepared to forgive things that seem so important to us even just days earlier. In 1914 the First World War observed a truce. There are stories told of the enemies making merry together on that great night. Of all the ‘popular’ Christmas songs, ‘Snoopy and the Red Baron’ is one of my very favourites. It is a novelty song about Charlie Brown’s loveable dog and his adventures with the Red Baron in WWI. I think the reason I like it so much is because of that same sense of being able to STOP! Stop the war, stop the violence, stop the pain and stop the hate. If we could but take that sense of peace and bottle that spirit so we might consume it all year, we might take a little of the story of ‘God with us’ to a new level.

 

The beauty is that God is with us even after January 6th. The Epiphany may mark the end of Christmas but not the end of the reason we celebrate Christmas. In our lectionary Christmas is referred to as The Incarnation. We celebrate the fact that God became one with us. God took on our pains, our joys, our hopes and our fears. Oh that we might be able to remember that throughout the year.  

 

Tonight we get to enjoy more cheer with our annual service of Lessons and Carols. The choir has been busy readying for this great service. Tonight’s line up includes, guest musicians playing trumpet, violin, drums, and a trombone. Not to mention a guitar or two when we light the tree. It should be a great night. Join us at 7:30 PM for our service of Lessons and Carols.

 

I will also be thinking of family tonight. It is special night for the George family as we celebrate Mom and Dad’s 59th wedding anniversary. This will be a great night for them both and I am sure that they will be enjoying a lot of family today. Catherinanne and I would sure love to be there. Dad had one request for their anniversary and that was that all of his children would go to church with them tonight. Catherinanne and I will certainly be praying for them as we sing along at Lessons and Carols tonight.

 

I wrote a hymn to be used for the lighting of our advent wreath this year. It is called “Come, O Lord.” [Tune is Silent Night]. I have written this as an act of thanksgiving and I dedicate it to the Glory of God with much thanks for Mom and Dad and for their long marriage. They started raising children 58 years ago. They kept having children for 21 years! They quit over 37 years ago when I came along. There are seven of us in total. Thanks Mom and Dad for keeping at it till you were satisfied with the results. Just kidding! I marvel at how much Mom and Dad sacrificed. I can only imagine how very much they must have put up with over those years. I guess all we can say at a time like this is thank you so very much for offering yourselves and fulfilling one of the greatest vocations of all – parent! Jesse Jackson once said “Your children need your presence more than your presents.” That was true for us and we are so glad that they were so very present to us. Christmas time did not always mean a tonne of presents – but the care and attention that we recived was present enough! I love you both and wish you both a Happy Anniversary.

 

Come, O Lord

 

Come, O Lord! Come, O Lord!

Let us with one accord

Sing our prayers to you, this day

Offering our work and play

Hear our prayer, O Lord

Hear our prayer, O Lord

 

Come, O Lord! Come, O Lord!

Break the night, with your word

You are Peace, and Love, and Hope

You bring Joy into our hearts

Come and be our guide,

Come and be our guide!

 

Come, O Lord! Come, O Lord!

You can free the world of war

You have promised to set free

All our heart’s captivity

Come and set us free,

Come and set us free!

 

Come, O Lord! Come, O Lord!

Let this light fill our world

Give us justice, truth and grace

Help us all to seek your face

Come and help us love,

Come and help us love!

 

Music: Stille Nacht – Franz Gruber circa 1820

Text: Kevin George © December 2008

This hymn is written to the Glory of God and in

thanksgiving for my parents Bob & Vivian George as they celebrate 59 years of marriage.