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And once again, Christmas approaches!

As I drove home last night, passing the many houses decked in wreaths, ribbons, and lights, a thought struck me about why Christmas is the most popular season.

For one thing, it helps us get through the long winter. The warmth of human festivity never comes to life quite so much as it does in the midst of the cold and darkness. There are many holidays throughout the year, but as far as I know, Christmas is the only holiday that artists often depict within the backdrop of winter. In scenes like these, we peer into a window showing a festive room. Seeing it through the window, against the backdrop of a house covered in thick evening snow, makes the interior feel warmer. Such is Christmas.

There is, however, something beautiful about the much darker quality of Advent. There is a hint of brightness as we light the few candles on the Advent wreath, but the emphasis is on the darkness. A scene of snow covered trees at night comes to mind... not quite as thrilling as a scene of laughing people and bright red ribbons through a window, but certainly with a hidden feeling of stillness no party could offer.

I am one to champion the beauty in hidden things, to the point of sounding cliché. However, it remains true that some of the best music is centered around stillness and darkness, with only a hint of light... and this reflects the purpose of this sobriety in Advent. Our devotion becomes deeper when we are in a time of spiritual darkness. And we are, in a liturgical sense, as we await the Christ that has not yet come.

So listen attentively this season to tunes like Creator of the Stars of Night — with its dark modality, never knowing where it will rise or fall, fading into silence at its conclusion.

God Bless,

Your Choir Director,

Audrey Drennen

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