Tuesday, December 23, 2008

thoughts on advent

Last night was a good night. It was such a pleasure to gather with friends and play some of our advent songs at workplay. Thanks to everyone who made it out. Thanks especially to my sister katie, who drove in from atlanta (and back afterwards) to be there, which was pretty much awesome. the room last night was warm and was filled with good people and it was good to share some of the songs we’ve worked hardest on this year.

And as I said last night, I’ve been thinking a lot this year about advent, about Christmas. Its been good to spend time remembering these great mysteries that surround our faith. It is so easy to talk about baby jesus. It is easy to sort of forget how massive an idea baby jesus is. Maybe that’s why I prefer to sing about it.

I love the ideas of silence, of waiting, and that the climax of advent is this message "I am with you". for so much of the bible, god is silent. for so much of my story, god seems incredibly silent. A friend says to me that is all we really need to hear. “I am with you.” she says that is all we’ve ever hoped to hear.

Clint and I have talked a lot about advent this year, and clint likes to remind me that the promise of advent is also the promise: “and I am coming again.”

And I love the ideas of jesus being disguised among us. He was born into poverty and humility, and to this day, that is where he remains. Jesus is among the poor, the sad, the hurting, the widows, the orphans. this idea haunts me.

A friend told me recently that jesus comes either as the fulfillment of our desire or a rival to our self love. I have so much tension with that.

And for me, it always kind of comes back to the music. The music seems to carry us and sing our faith for us. At least it does for me. It as if, mysteriously, through songs, my doubt is moved toward belief.

Another friend told me this just yesterday morning:

"I have read that the christian life is not moving from ignorance to knowledge but from doubt to faith, over and over and over and over again. we are made for it to be so. as soon as we find any sense of certainty or belief or rest a new doubt creeps in, a new angst, a new question, a contradiction and we go through the cycle all over again.

for me, the music is the balm in the doubt. it holds the note while the doubt is being changed to faith. earth and heaven cannot hold or sustain him. but music does."

So...to all of us who feel alone, who are weary of the silence, who are hopeful for grace and for mercy, and for doubts to be carried into faith: merry christmas.

cheers to a hopeful advent, and the silence we all know so well.


James McManus said...

Great thoughts and reminders.
Thanks for the music - it helps with the mystery of the Xian faith.

Clint Wells said...

I really enjoyed this post and what you said at the show last night about advent.

When the gospel is sweet it is the sweetest thing I know of. Those moments are rare, but they carry me.

Rachel said...

We LOVED the show last night. It was great!

We were going to come actually meet you in person, but the pressing crowds scared us away. You know, those fears of being trampled at Christmastime and all.

Anyway, thanks for the concert. It was magnificent, of course.

Matthew said...

Last night was great. I really enjoyed the last song...as I listened to the musicians through the instrumental part at the end of the song I couldn't help but think about how the beauty of each of our heartsongs sound so much better together. Yes, we struggle to know that "God is with us"... how comforting to have brothers and sisters to make music in the tension of figuring out what that practically means.

From my heart, Merry Christmas Brian.

Thanks for playing Sweet Well. It made my day.

bruce said...

well said! merry christmas!

Katie said...

I love you Brian and was so glad that Josh and I could be there for the concert. Your music is amazing and I continue to be proud to be able to call myself your sister.

Stephen said...

Murph, unfortunately we were home with sleeping kids (by necessity) for the show. But I found your post inspiring and wanted to chime in in the spirit of true kinship. Best wishes for the Advent season (which continues) and the new year!