Emmanuel comes a-singing

I didn't grow up in denominational tradition that observed the bluesy, brooding season of Advent. I don't remember preparing for Jesus' birth so much as it simply happening.

But when I 'discovered' Advent while attending an Episcopal Church in college it opened up a whole new spiritual vocabulary for me - grief, longing, impatience, hopeful waiting, in-between spaces. These were words my closeted queer self needed to hear and it was a gift to find a season of the church year that created space to integrate my spiritual life and named the holy discomfort I felt so profoundly.

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it came upon a midnight clear

Merry Christmas, friends! 

I've been reharmonizing and improvising on carols over the past years and the latest is this setting of 'It Came Upon a Midnight Clear.' It departs quite a bit from the original setting but I think the unexpected harmonic turns and moving inner lines express this beautiful carol in a new way.

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we are all meant to be mothers of God

While Advent marks the beginning of the new liturgical year, I often experience it as a hinge, a transitional space that holds past and future in tension. It invites us to awareness and discernment, to notice where God is at work in our world and in our lives.

This year the tension has been especially strong. Violence and terror persist. The peace foretold by ancient prophets seems illusory in face of ongoing wars, economic instability, and political hubris. The justice that makes valleys low and rough places plain seems far off in face of oppressive, racist systems that scapegoat immigrants and devalue lives of color. And then add our personal challenges and pains, those of our families and friends. Sometimes it can be overwhelming.

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