Monday, December 15, 2008

Of words and candlelight

These are the darkest days of winter and some of my darkest days too. The darkness lifted temporarily as I attended a candle-lit carol concert yesterday evening. There, in the still church, my thoughts floated apart as I listened to the familiar Christmas readings, my mind taken back, as always, to school carol concerts and the pending excitement of Christmas at the most beautiful of words: "In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God". There, in the candle-lit church, I heard my voice soaring out, in harmony with the multitude of voices, lifting up to the rafters, surprising me, as we sung "silent night, holy night". There, in that quiet and candlelit church, as prayers were read, I thought I heard a whispered lullaby: "The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it". My candle might not be shining so very brightly at the moment, but it has not gone out. These darkest days of winter will soon have passed, and soon too, I hope, will mine.

6 comments:

James said...

Sorry to hear you're not having a good time of it. Hope things brighten up for you soon.

pierre l said...

I too am sorry about your dark days, and hope things improve for you soon. Many virtual hugs.

Anonymous said...

"Against the darkness there must come out to light." Bob Marley

Richard said...

Sorry you're having dark days...

I love the traditional Nine Lessons and Carols. Memories of my youth when a boy from each year of school read a lesson, then a teacher, leaving our headmaster to read that very bit you love... Done right, the whole thing just builds up to that point. And it was always part of our family tradition as we grew up - listening to the radio at 3pm on Christmas Eve, knowing that millions of others were doing likewise.

From the bidding prayer (the man who wrote it had a wonderful understanding of cadence - "in heart and mind to go even unto Bethlehem", "all those who rejoice with us, but on another shore"...), through the carols and the readings, to the very end. Even just reading your post made the back of my neck tingle - for which thank you.

I hope that your light shines brighter, and that the darkness never overcomes it. And, if it's appropriate, Happy Christmas...

Rachel said...

Thank you Richard for your words. I love the Nine Lessons and Carols too. That was one of the saddest(!) things for me when I got a full time job and had to work on Christmas Eve rather than being at home helping hang Christmas decorations whilst listening to the radio.

We used to have a very similiar carol concert at school - the choir would start off singing plain song in the dark at the back of the church, then the Once in Royal solo and a candle lit procession to the second verse. Then the first reading by a first former, and so on until a teacher did the 8th and the head teacher the 9th. Beautiful. Absolutely beautiful.

And yes, I think Happy Christmas is, will be, appropriate. And Happy Christmas to you, and everyone, too.

Peonies and Polaroids said...

What a beautiful post Rachel. May the lighter days shine on soon.