A Holy Tide

God Rest Ye Merry, Gentlemen – Virginia Street

I have a hard time processing everything that has culminated in my experience of living in the year 2011. Every year seems to pass quickly, but when I list the things that have happened this year, both those events that I’ve dreamt into reality, and the experiences that have landed at my proverbial doorstep, I have to wonder: Seriously, where did the time go?

In January, I was managing websites, caring for two dogs and a traveling husband and muddling through a wasteland of health issues. In December, I’m surrounded by family, writing music, singing and playing for loved ones and strangers alike, taking care of three dogs, enjoying a husband in the town that we love, and reveling in the beauty and blessing of kindred spirits.

After a busy November in terms of performing and writing music, I felt particularly called to create my own arrangement of a Christmas carol. I had a few in mind, but sometimes the right song to “cover” is not one that you choose, but rather one that you wake up humming. For me this was the case with the traditional English carol, “God Rest Ye Merry, Gentlemen.”

This carol has been a particular favorite of mine from the time I was singing in children’s choirs. While the lyrics bring tidings of hope and joy, the melody itself has a minor tone that seems to capture the duality of the Christmas season—a season born with hope, but ever mindful of the price at which that hope was bought. I’ve been told that I “do” dark-and-ominous well, so that might be another reason I couldn’t get the tune out of my head. Whatever the reason, in this carol I have found the perfect message for me this year, and perhaps it will resonate with you as well:

Now to the Lord sing praises
All you within this place
And with true love and brotherhood
Each other now embrace
This holy tide of Christmas
All other doth deface
O tidings of comfort and joy
Comfort and joy
O tidings of comfort and joy

One of the biggest and most liberating lessons I’ve learned from this year of peaks and valleys is that I don’t have a choice about loving my brothers and sisters of the world. I don’t have the time or the luxury of choosing whom I will love and whom I will ignore. I have a calling to give love as freely as I have received it—a calling that I’ve never understood until now. I know that I won’t fully succeed in this calling, but I also know that the freedom and joy I will experience in trying will far outweigh whatever wall my nay-saying self tries to build in the process of failing.

So, the tide must change, and, for me I rather fancy it to be a Holy tide!

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