Christmas is a season for singing, even when the air waves are saturated with the hard, angry sounds of impeachment and political polarization. From the shallow triviality of Frosty the Snowman to the grandeur of Handel’s Messiah, there’s music all around if we listen for it.
Don’t miss this. Karsh heard Casals play Bach. He caught the moment in a picture, and an old man looking at the portrait could hear Bach’s music.
In the same way, Luke painted a word-picture of the “multitude of the heavenly host” singing when Jesus was born. (Luke 2:13-14) Reading Luke’s story, we are invited to hear the angels singing, “Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, goodwill to all.” In the cacophony of our boisterous time, the challenge during Advent is to listen for the music.
Mark the Music
Regardless of the breaking news headlines and the verbal warfare in social media, there’s music is in the air. The question is whether we — like that old man in the Boston museum — will focus our attention long enough and deeply enough to hear it. Which brings me to a disturbing word from Shakespeare.
(Erebus: “the primordial god of darkness…born out of the primeval void, Chaos…the personification of the deep darkness and shadows.”)
Tragically, it is possible to miss the music, even at Christmas.
We can become so narcissistically self-oriented, so deeply and darkly turned in on ourselves, that we become blinded to the glory of the Lord that shines around us. A person who has “no music in himself” and is “not moved by sweet sounds” becomes capable of “treasons, stratagems, and spoils.” Because they have no joy in themselves, they cannot hear or share the “good news of great joy” that Christ brings for all people. As a result, their attitudes and actions become “dark as Erebus.” In the end, they are not people who can be trusted.
So, here’s my only comment on the impeachment. The saddest thing I can say about Donald Trump is that he seems to fit Shakespeare’s description; there seems to be little or no music in his soul. He appears to be a person who is almost devoid of joy. Instead, he seems to be relentlessly driven by selfish greed, resentment, anger, and grievance. As a result, he drags us into the darkness rather than lifting us toward the light.