Advent prayer for carolers

Tuesday, December 16, 2014stock-illustration-10545904-christmas-carolers

For carolers, I give thanks —
children who shiver
on street corners, driveways,
country dooryards,
or walk with unselfconscious
joy-to-share
into the heated air
of assisted living facilities,
nursing homes,
and even hospice bedrooms
where someone can see
in their bright faces
Bethlehem and Easter, too.

For carolers I give thanks —
some more “seasoned”
in the season,
who sing “Away in a manger”
with the talent and tenderness
of an inner five-year-old,
(not to speak of “Rudolph”
with all the silly bits)
tears in their eyes
for the privilege of saying
“God loves you,”
in a simple way
to long-time friends
and folks met only once.

For carolers I give thanks —
teenagers, a bit awkward
and in-between,
but looking at the little kids
and more wrinkly faces
of some other singers –
and really figuring out
what it is —
this thing called church.
Amen.

Thank you to Ellie Kell, whose Facebook post about the Edwards Church in Framingham, Ma helped me begin this prayer. Thank you to Helen and Darlene of the Union Church in Madbury, NH, who, seeing they were the end of the caroling list, prepared a supper of fish chowder, warm bread and brownies for hungry singers last Friday night.

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4 Responses to Advent prayer for carolers

  1. sugruerm says:

    How lovely – isn’t it wonderful how caring people are found everywhere. Carols in winter are so evocative of warmth and good cheer.
    Some NZ towns have public sing-alongs – ‘Carols by the Sea’ and ‘Carols in the Park’ (but often the weather isn’t as summery as hoped). The traditional Northern carols remain the public favourites but increasingly NZ Southern carols are putting in an appearance, particularly this year with it being 200 hundred years since the first Christmas service happened on NZ soil, the text was Lk 2:10. We have a charming carol ‘Te Harinui’ (Glad tidings of great joy) that tells how the Maori people gathered round.

    • Maren says:

      That is a new one for me. ‘Star Child’ is the southern hemisphere “import of choice” and much loved, but I can find this online and will share it when we are doing your Matthew / Luke dialogue on the 28th.

  2. sugruerm says:

    NZ has many wonderful hymn writers and our very own book of modern Christmas Carols called ‘Carol Our Christmas’ (‘…our Upsidedown Christmas’ Shirley Murray) published in 1993
    but our first and favourite carol is ‘Te Harinui’ was written by Willow Mackay in 1959

    1. Not on a snowy night
    By star or candlelight
    Nor by an angel band
    There came to our dear land
    Te Harinui
    Te Harinui
    Te Hari-nu-i
    Glad tid-ings of great joy

    2. But on a summer day
    Within a quiet bay
    The Maori people heard
    The great and glorious word

    3. The people gathered round
    Upon the grassy ground
    And heard the preacher say
    I bring to you this day

    4. Now in this blessed land
    United heart and hand
    We praise the glorious birth
    And sing to all the earth

  3. Maren says:

    I have found music for it and we will be singing it next week! Thank you for the introduction. Our favorite has been Muliankanlah because our church is half Indonesian and “Christmas does not start in Indonesia until one sings Muliankanlah.”

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