Patrick Sibley
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As is the case for many people like me who spent some 20 years as a professional church musician, music itself speaks prayerfully often what word's cannot say. By now I suspect we have has our fill of ave yourself a merry little one horse open chestnut roasting. In these last 7 days before Christmas we have the O antiphons into our evening prayer, right before the Magnificat. These have been part of this prayer since the 8th Century, and in the 12th century were set to a chant which we now know as "O come O come Emmanuel. Sometimes during this season I would just sit alone and play that tune and imagine the Staying Power.

The verse of the hymn set for today goes:

O come, O key of David, Come,
and open wide our heavenly home,
make safe the way that leads on high,
and close the path to misery.
Rejoice! Rejoice! Emmanuel shall come to you O Israel.

I'm not sure the path to misery has been closed and I know in the modern world the way that leads on high is not always safe. This season lands at a time when we are just trying to get through our lists, stay warm and hopefully love our neighbor and not run over them in the last dash to the finish line. God in fact does make the way safe and the that path to misery he has closed, its we who keep setting up the roadblocks and opening the wounds of misery. we have the power to make this old antiphon a reality now....but we have to listen.

I suggest listening to the music video below in a quiet room and think about it the 12th century - take that Kayne West!

 

Isaiah 9.2-7

The people who walked in darkness
have seen a great light;
those who lived in a land of deep darkness—
on them light has shined.
You have multiplied the nation,
you have increased its joy;
they rejoice before you
as with joy at the harvest,
as people exult when dividing plunder.
For the yoke of their burden,
and the bar across their shoulders,
the rod of their oppressor,
you have broken as on the day of Midian.
For all the boots of the tramping warriors
and all the garments rolled in blood
shall be burned as fuel for the fire.
For a child has been born for us,
a son given to us;
authority rests upon his shoulders;
and he is named
Wonderful Counsellor, Mighty God,
Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.
His authority shall grow continually,
and there shall be endless peace
for the throne of David and his kingdom.
He will establish and uphold it
with justice and with righteousness
from this time onwards and for evermore.
The zeal of the Lord of hosts will do this.