Put Out the Welcome Mat!

Otto Herschel, Wikipedia Commons Labeled for Non-Commercial Reuse

Otto Herschel, Wikipedia Commons
Labeled for Non-Commercial Reuse-Rabbi Reading the Torah

 

“I am coming to dwell among you.”
Zechariah 2, 14

Last week we had guests for dinner–good friends we hadn’t seen in a while thanks to those daily life events that sometimes get in the way of what we would like.

The morning of their visit, I took on the tasks of spiffing up the house while David got to work on the special meal he had planned a few days ahead of time. He’d spent an afternoon shopping at a few stores to assure he had just the right ingredients and found recipes even though his culinary genius would kick in and improve upon them. I kept busy, too, most of the day, filling in as sous-chef in between my domestic duties. We wanted everything to be just perfect, especially since our friend, Patty, is also a gourmet cook.

“So what?” you may be thinking. It’s no less than what most folks would do.

That evening, after our friends had left and most of the dishes had been done, we went, as is our practice during Advent, to light the candles on our Advent wreath and to read a short meditation from a little publication, “The Word Among Us,” that is based on the scripture for the following day’s liturgy. And, as you no doubt have guessed by now, that wonderful promise from the prophet Zechariah was the verse the editors chose for us to reflect upon.

The parallel is obvious, isn’t it? If David and I could do so much to welcome these dear friends, to prepare with care for their visit, shouldn’t we do more to welcome Jesus into our lives? One big difference stands out to me. Yes, we are celebrating the coming of God’s Son into our world when we prepare for Christmas but HE’S ALREADY HERE. And He didn’t come just for an evening of good food, some wine and conversations. He has come to STAY. And He has come to offer us the feast of Himself.

So, I have to ask myself, what do I do on a daily basis to welcome Him, to be aware of His dwelling in me? Is my Advent preparation confined to shopping for presents and wrapping them, sending out Christmas cards, and baking goodies? What else can I do? Perhaps, it’s in taking some time each morning to pray that we will find the answer to those questions.

In case you are wondering, our evening was perfect, fun. The dinner was scrumptious and conversation flowed. But it was over so quickly, just like our celebration each year of Christmas.

Blessed Advent!

Photo: Wikipedia Commons--Labeled for Non-Commercial Reuse

Photo: Wikipedia Commons–Labeled for Non-Commercial Reuse

 

 

Gregorian Chant

Gregorian Chant

Sacred Vocabulary
eight modes of prayer
minor and major
moods to match mine
joy and pain.

Sacred Living
unfolding in hours
cast upon a staff
etched on vellum
etched in flesh.

Sacred Thought
echo through the years
rendered in music
rendered in breath.
Sacred poetry.

Gregorian chant or plainchant is a form of music used in Monastic Communities and Religious Orders for the singing of the Liturgy of the Hours. It is also an age-old tradition for many liturgical ceremonies in the Roman Catholic Church and other Christian communities. Its style is reminiscent of ancient Hebrew chanting.

It is composed in eight modes or scales in major or minor tones. The minor modes are usually associated with the more serious or penitential times of the liturgical year, while the major tones for celebration and joyful events. In general, true Gregorian chant is recited without accompaniment or harmonization. In more recent years, Gregorian chant has caught the attention of popular culture and has on occasion merged with popular songs. The music of Enigma is an example of this.

The Liturgy of the Hours, along with the celebration of the Eucharist, constitute part of the official public prayer of the Church (including Anglicanism and Greek Orthodoxy). Also known as the Divine Office or Breviary, this prayer is recited eight times throughout the twenty-four hour day. In strict monastic settings, the monks arise during the night to recite one of the “hours.” While the hours may be recited privately, the ideal is to do so in community, preferable chanted. The Psalms make up a major part of the liturgical hours.

gregorian