Monday, December 12, 2011

Recollections

This time of year is indeed a hectic and busy season that brings out a the worst in people, as my dad would say. For the Christian it should be one full of grateful joy as we reflect the reason why God sent, in the form of a babe, His Son.

This time of year is also one for decorating in the interiors and exterior of our dwelling places. For our family, we try to keep things simple, but tastefully decorated for the season. Our home does not undergo an "extreme makeover" but we do bring out the wreaths, greenery, a red bows for the outside. The inside contains similar goods, but with a few intimate details. Our Christmas tree holds all the little things we made as small children, a few recent ornaments, and then the special antique ones that our mother has saved. We place homemade decorations on doorknobs, light candles in the evening, we girls fix a pot of tea or mugs of hot chocolate to sip while watching favorite classics such as White Christmas or The Nativity Story, or we might be working on secret gifts for each other in the sewing room while we pop in a Christmas CD (a personal favorite: The Music of a Victoria Christmas). All of these things help create an atmosphere that fosters memories.

Every year there are so many memories made at our house, as I'm sure there are many recollections to be said of yours. Tonight my mind went back to when I was living with my grandparents. It was shortly before an evening service at church during the Christmas season. The sanctuary was beautifully decorated that imparted a surrounding not of distracting or noisy clutter, but rather gave a feeling of quiet aesthetic beauty. My mentor and friend asked if I'd like to join her at the piano with my violin and we would prepare something on the fly for the offertory that night. Choosing one of the simpler ones to play, God seemed to bless us with His presence as we practiced once and then played during the service. The tune was achingly beautiful and the words ministered to our own hearts as we played.

This Flower, whose fragrance tender with sweetness fills the air,
Dispels with glorious splendor the darkness everywhere;
True Man, yet very God, from sin and death He saves us,
And lightens every load.

A smile spreads across my face as I recall the memory that took place only two years ago, but my heart sings when I pause to ponder the words of that 15th century carol.

Lo, how a Rose e’er blooming from tender stem hath sprung!
Of Jesse’s lineage coming, as men of old have sung.
It came, a floweret bright, amid the cold of winter,
When half spent was the night.

Isaiah ’twas foretold it, the Rose I have in mind;
With Mary we behold it, the virgin mother kind.
To show God’s love aright, she bore to men a Savior,
When half spent was the night.

The shepherds heard the story proclaimed by angels bright,
How Christ, the Lord of glory was born on earth this night.
To Bethlehem they sped and in the manger found Him,
As angel heralds said.

This Flower, whose fragrance tender with sweetness fills the air,
Dispels with glorious splendor the darkness everywhere;
True Man, yet very God, from sin and death He saves us,
And lightens every load.

O Savior, Child of Mary, who felt our human woe,
O Savior, King of glory, who dost our weakness know;
Bring us at length we pray, to the bright courts of Heaven,
And to the endless day!

Words: 15th Cen­tu­ry car­ol (Es ist ein Ros ent­sprung­en); vers­es 1-2 trans­lat­ed from Ger­man to Eng­lish by The­o­dore Bak­er, 1894. Verses 3-4, Fried­rich Lay­ritz, trans­lat­ed by Har­ri­et Rey­nolds Krauth, 1875. Verse 5, trans­lat­ed or writ­ten by John C. Mat­tes, 1914.

Music: Es Ist Ein Ros’, Al­te Ca­thol­ische Geist­liche Kirch­en­ge­säng (Köln, Ger­ma­ny: 1599); har­mo­ny by Mi­chael Prae­tor­i­us, 1609.

2 comments:

Rachel said...

You should try to make it to one of Bold Reflection's concerts; they sing that song. :D

Samantha R. said...

Funny how my Mom and I were just saying that today... how this 'season' can seem to bring out the worst in people. Which really is sad to me!

We don't really "celebrate" Christmas so it's not a season of stress for me at all and I am so thankful!!