Winter Song / by LD

Faithful readers of this here Internet Space With The Picket Fence Around It (and even those who have only deigned a cursory glance in its direction) are likely aware that I'm not one to talk about God, capital G and All His Holiness And In Florid King James Hysterics on this platform very often. The reasons are myriad and have little to do with my relative closeness or distance to said Almighty. More to the point: when it comes to effusing on any number of the many loves of my honeycomb heart, what occupies the most space is often the most difficult to explain with any semblance of undisputed authenticity. (G'head. Explain Love to me in a way that doesn't cause me to roll my eyes. Not so easy, is it?) So while I can wax poetic about the City of Angels or my deep and unending love for Andrew Bird all day long, when it comes to unaffected candidness about my faith, I've been fairly mum.

For reasons that should be fairly evident, the difficulty lies in the act of sharing the parts of myself that are sacred in their closeness to my core. While this might be copacetic for certain areas of my life, what I believe in - and would stake my very life upon - and the concept of privacy and members-only secrecy are at odds with one another. The incongruence between the belief and the outward proclamation of said credence haunts me like a specter, a howling banshee that would seek to flout my faith in God as a series of worn-out clichés and supremely tired, spiritualized bon mots.


As with anything in an overcrowded culture rife with derivative rhetoric and a status quo base enough to make grown men weep, I try to avoid contributing to the din as much as I can. It's enough to eke out a portion of this life devoted to truth and beauty in their purest sense (though even those words fail miserably to convey their own inherent meaning). But to also explain what moves my heart, what causes it to beat - the impetus for cranking those gears in this head of mine? Surely you don't expect me to have perfected that so early in the game?

I would hope that my faith (and its paramount worth) is evident in the way that I live my life, though I realize that's not always the case. For that, and for the continual striving that misses its mark more often than not, I will spend my life apologizing. In some ways, we all will, won't we? But it should be said, if at least to remind us to strive ever onward. Even still, sometimes it feels that for every two steps forward, I fall four steps behind and whether or not you can relate doesn't change the fact that I must keep moving. Ever onward.

I'm not sure what's brought about this clarifying moment of divulgence, but I suspect that Advent has something to do with it. Whatever your belief (or lack of) in God, Jesus, or Any Of His Other Pals, I think the one thing we can all agree upon (aside from the incontestable awesomeness of The Arcade Fire) is that this world is not as it should be. It longs, it aches, it groans for reconciliation, for wrongs to be righted. For justice. And for peace, though the semantics that word possesses are a mere shadow of its weighty meaning.

Because of this, at Christmas, I'm prone more than ever to long, to ache, for reconciliation. To grieve what is in disrepair. And to wish I could find some way to explain this, to elucidate what my heart longs for. To somehow provide words to realize an idea. In so many ways I've already fallen short (or long, depending on your position on gleefully liberal adjective use). But there's a Christmas hymn that I love, that I've always loved, that I've probably played a hundred times on our piano in the past 6 weeks, and I think it does a better job of snatching those ideas from the ether and providing words to usher them into understanding. Thanks for bearing with me while I figure out how to find those words for myself.

O Come, O Come Emmanuel

O come, O come, Emmanuel
And ransom captive Israel
That mourns in lonely exile here
Until the Son of God appear
Rejoice! Rejoice! Emmanuel
Shall come to thee, O Israel.

O come, Thou Day-Spring, come and cheer
Our spirits by Thine advent here
Disperse the gloomy clouds of night
And death's dark shadows put to flight.
Rejoice! Rejoice! Emmanuel
Shall come to thee, O Israel.

O come, O come, Thou Lord of might,
Who to Thy tribes, on Sinai's height,
In ancient times did'st give the Law,
In cloud, and majesty and awe.
Rejoice! Rejoice! Emmanuel
Shall come to thee, O Israel.