My poor, neglected blog. It’s already Advent again, and I haven’t written anything in months. But, it’s because I’ve been busy – waiting. But actively waiting – making preparations for a wedding in the new year. Isn’t it strange how sometimes waiting feels active, and sometimes it feels passive?
I was in a meeting with a staff a couple weeks ago where I talked about the difference between actively waiting and passively waiting. And I realized, that passively waiting feels most powerless, and it’s where my heart goes when I’m tired. Anyway, the actively waiting has been very busy – and while I’ve had lots of blog-worthy thoughts, there has not been much energy to write.
But now I’m procrastinating during a seminary paper and thought I’d just put this up here. I have a thing about Advent, and not listening to Christmas carols during it. It short-circuits the waiting, I think. On December 1, someone told me “Merry Christmas!” and that December was for Christmas music. I beg to differ. Most of December is for Advent music. The waiting, sometimes active, sometimes passive – the difficulty, the day-to-day. Too often our American Christianity focuses only on the easy, the celebration, the triumphant parts of the faith. And there is so much more than that.
Anyway, to help me remember that, I have listened to my Advent playlist from last year – reposted below, but with an additional song that I added after posting this last year. Makes me smile, looking back on that late add – but it means more to me than romantic love – in the end, the truest love prevails.
“A prison cell, in which one waits, hopes, does various unessential things, and is completely dependent on the fact that the door of freedom has to be opened from the outside, is not a bad picture of Advent.” (November 21, 1943) – Dietrich Bonhoeffer
1. The Laugh of Recognition – Over the Rhine – ‘c’mon boys it’s time to let it go // everybody has a dream that they will never own… it’s called the laugh of recognition when you laugh but you feel like dyin”
2. Bitterness Hotel – Martha’s Trouble ‘well i don’t know how I got here, it’s not where I want to be’ (a lovely band I met in college – they moved from Houston to Birmingham)
3. Long Lost Brother – Over the Rhine – ‘I thought that we’d be further along by now // I can’t remember how I stumbled to this place’
4. Only God Can Save Us Now – Over the Rhine ‘who will save me from myself and the night’
7.The Cure for Pain – Jon Foreman – ‘I’m not sure why it always goes downhill, why broken cisterns never could stay filled’
8. Some Peace Tonight – Martha’s Trouble ‘Let me run and hide from the fear that is in me // My head is spinning and I need some peace tonight’
9. First Breath After Coma – Explosions in the Sky 3:20-4:20 is a great section, but for this playlist, the 4:20-5:30 is right on, and then the melody at 5:30 always sounds a little like ‘o come let us adore him’ to me…
10. Windmills – Mutual Admiration Society (orig. by Toad the Wet Sprocket)‘there’s something that you won’t show, waiting where the light goes // and anyway the wind blows, it’s all worth waiting for’
11. The Revolution Choir – Alex Dupree and the Trapdoor Band ‘there is a land it is full of giants // but do not lose step and do not be frightened // cuz there is a great fire, it came from the mountains // we wait in the watchtower, just tryin’ to keep it lit //it cannot be too much longer’ (I miss singing this with my Mosaic family.)
12. All is Full of Love – Death Cab for Cutie (orig. by Bjork) ‘you’ll be given love, you’ll be taken care of… you have to trust it’
13. Keep Your Eyes on the Prize – Mavis Staples – ‘got my hand on the freedom plow, wouldn’t take nothing for my journey now // keep your eyes on the prize, hold on’
14. Travelin’ Thru – Dolly Parton ‘Oh sometimes the road is rugged, and it’s hard to travel on // But holdin’ to each other, we don’t have to walk alone …// oh sweet Jesus if you’re listenin’ keep me ever close to you // As I’m stumblin’ tumblin’ wonderin’ as I’m travelin’ thru
15. Tension is a Passing Note – Sixpence ‘but tension is to be loved // when it is like a passing note // to a beautiful beautiful chord’
16. God Believes in You – Jill Phillips (orig. by Pierce Pettis) ‘when you swear you don’t believe in him // God believes in you… blessed are the ones who grieve // the ones who mourn and the ones who bleed // in sorrow you sow, but in joy you’ll reap’
17. Brave – Miranda Stone Look at me, I’m being brave // Look at me, I’m being brave // Look at you, you’re being brave
18. Up to the Mountain (MLK song) – Patty Griffin ‘Then I hear your sweet voice, oh // Oh, come and then go, come and then go //Telling me softly You love me so’
19. True Love Will Find You in the End – Daniel Johnston, covered by Mates of State Don’t be sad, I know you will // Don’t give up until // True love finds you in the end