It’s holiday season, guys I know because I was in a garden centre looking at decorations listening to a male (senior in years) quartet sing 50s tunes, whilst sipping on a mulled cider. I did say holiday for a reason, no I am not shunning my Christian roots. Yes it’s Christmas. But it’s also about to be Hannukah, and Thanksgiving, its just been Diwali-it is pretty obvious from just a quick glance that all of these holidays are celebrating gratitude and light overcoming darkness.
I am all about a festival…and we can all do with some light and some peace. (And if you’ve got similar tastes to me you will also be recording channel 5 christmas films…because they are so bad they are good)
I was in church this morning and reflecting on the words of the songs. I have found myself trying not to blindly sing these tunes but actually ask myself do I ascribe to these…or more aptly do I even understand these words?
And the one that stuck out to me was ‘hallelujah’.
Which first of all makes me think of uber charismatic and Pentecostal Christians, from a church in the South of the US, fanning themselves whilst they are boiling in their Sunday best.
The second thing is the Leonard Cohen song, then the cover of it by Alexandra Burke. (The power of crap TV on me)
Despite some of these references, it has always appealed to me. I want to say hallelujah!
But then I thought about it a bit more and surely its an exclamation, its a need to cry out in praise. A breakthrough.
Which reminded me of this beautiful song:
I love this song, I love that moment of unstoppable, not containable gratitude for hope. I love that its found in the most unexpected places, on the street. That these people described in the song were seen, heard, found.
It makes me wonder in all these shiny lights, baubles, parties, carols, feasts, shopping, gifts, candles…do we know that we are seen, we are heard, we are not alone. I feel like its something I have to recall, like the shema, I need to recite that Emmanuel, God is with us, for us-even in the fog, the shimmer of excitement this season, the murkiness of messy relationships and disappointment.
I have seen Foy Vance a few times, He is an extremely talented musician and song writer-but I have also found it heartbreaking, he has seemed lost and falling apart on the stage. He sings such truth and yet I wonder if he knows peace, maybe like most of us he has caught glimpses of it and yet grief, tiredness, disappointment has worn us down?
I wanted to leave you with another song of his…
May this holiday season we all be aware of the light, and can’t help but shout, whisper, sing ‘hallelujah’.
(If you do this on public transport people may think you are crazy, but I will think you’re cool)