’Tis the gift to be simple, ’tis the gift to be free
’Tis the gift to come down where we ought to be,
And when we find ourselves in the place just right,
’Twill be in the valley of love and delight.
When true simplicity is gained,
To bow and to bend we shan’t be ashamed,
To turn, turn will be our delight,
Till by turning, turning we come ’round right.
Saturday's Theme: De-Light
Delighting in moments brings joy. Delighting in set-aside times can be the shift that helps recalibrate what was into what just very well may be. I am gifted with family and friends who can make me laugh until tears come from my eyes. I am also gifted with two incredible sons whose singing, writing, and artwork bring me such joy that begin in my heart and work their way out into the world from there. Delighting invites us to enter into another time and place. Delighting is about being held in moments. It’s that Jonathan Livingstone Seagull phrase, “If our friendship depends on things like space and time, then when we finally overcome space and time, we’ve destroyed our own (sister)brotherhood! But overcome space, and all we have left is Here. Overcome time, and all we have left is Now. And in the middle of Here and Now, don’t you think that we might see each other once or twice?”
When true simplicity is gained. Wouldn’t this be a different way to journey through our Advent? What would stay the same and what would change? This Shaker Hymn is probably not on anyone’s Greatest Christmas Carol hits list. But if each of us just sing it through once, maybe twice I believe that many would agree that this familiar tune and these words offer their own gift for our spirits. Perhaps this could be a roadmap for this year as we are truly living-in-and-through a traditionally hectic December in the midst of a Pandemic kind of time.
These words from the Shaker Hymn were first heard in 1848. They are a breath of fresh air in 2020. These lyrics don’t scold or shame us. Instead, these words encourage and invite us to de-light our way to Christmas. These words can both compass and companion us on our Advent journey. Bowing and bending sound so counter-cultural in these post-election days. They are so not-what-we’ve been doing that they feel radically necessary as we turn toward, pray for, journey with one another to Bethlehem. This melody and these words are welcome in my home and my heart for 2020. (You are most welcome for the ear worm.)
[ Thanks, John Brogan for these wonderful art pieces ]
"Time is different here," I heard my Mom's voice say a couple months after her death. Journeying through these Covid-19 days, remind me of the gift of those words. You are invited companion me on this 2020 Advent journey to Bethlehem, as we seek Emmanuel, God who promises always to be with us.