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St. Barnabas’ celebration of the Feast Of The Nativity is already happening, with preparations for the Christmas Eve pageant, with candles and trees and greens – and the music of Christmas weaves in all around with voices singing and instruments playing,

As the children and choir and instrumentalists prepare for our celebration, I am so excited. I am so filled with wonder. I am so grateful.

I am excited that, at the 4:00 pm Family Christmas Eve service, the children will be playing percussion on a 14th century Christmas carol, and helping us experience being present at Christ’s birth by singing “The Friendly Beasts” (never has doves’ cooing sounded so beautiful!). I am excited that Cammy Kucaba and Maddy Wetle will be singing a duet with a cool chime accompaniment by the children. I am excited that Nathan Ramirez will be playing guitar for our prelude, and that Kate and Anne Reidenbach will be helping too – we may hear oboe in our church for the first time in 20 years!

I am excited about the Vaughan Williams’ Fantasia on “Greensleeves” that Grace Ramirez will be playing on cello for the Prelude for the 9:30 pm Christmas Eve Carols and Anthems service. She plays it so beautifully! If you are able, come a little early so you can hear the whole piece.

I am excited that at the 9:30 pm service we will hear the choir sing:

Every star and every planet, every creature high or low,
Come and praise the King of heaven by whatever name you know

- Sydney Carter

And

Methinks I see a heavenly host of angels on the wing - William Billings

(I confess I initially picked that song because it begins with the word “Methinks”) And

The cave is heav’n, and the virgin is the throne of the Cherubim In the confines of the manger is laid the infinite Christ our God

- Greek Orthodox chant

I am excited that, at all our Christmas Eve services, we get to sing hymns and carols that we learned when we were very young, and that we can’t wait to sing the joy of Christmas again. I am excited that we get to sing songs that we don’t know as well, but in their mystery we experience more of the Mystery of Emmanuel.

I am excited that I get to sing all these with the community of St. Barnabas, a community that sings its faith, its love, its concern, its desire to follow Christ.

I am filled with wonder that our voices will be singing songs that were sung by Christians in the 3rd and 14th and 18th and 20th centuries, and that are sung now by Christians around the globe. I am filled with wonder that the 3-year-olds in our congregation sing “Alleluia” with those of us who have been singing it for 80 years (Children, you help us hear it better than ever). I am filled with wonder that our voices “join with the voices of angels and archangels.”

The sound of the music itself fills me with wonder. The music speaks in a way that my words cannot. The music somehow conveys our wonder at the Incarnation, gives voice to our hope and belief and joy.

And I am grateful. Grateful that we have all our hope in the coming of Christ. Grateful for this community that lives out that hope.

Grateful for all the musicians of St. Barnabas, the choir and instrumentalists, who are all generous and versatile and creative and brave. They have given much time and talent in preparing the wonder-filled music for Christmas Eve and Christmas Day.

Grateful for a congregation that loves to sing together in worship, and sings so beautifully.

Grateful for the children of our parish who have taught me more about music this year.

Come let us adore Him. Let us adore Him together in our music, in listening and in singing and in playing. Come let us adore Him, morning, afternoon, and evening. Let us adore Him together on Christmas Eve and Christmas Day. Let us invite family and friends and neighbors and strangers to sing with us the joy of Christmas.

With excitement, wonder, and gratitude, Cathy Kuna 

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