Monday, December 19, 2011

Advent Music Monday: Future of Forestry

On this last Monday of Advent, all that's left is the harrowing journey to Bethlehem.

This song, part of a special Advent EP by alt-rock band Future of Forestry, reflects on what the journey must have been like for the Holy Family.

I stumbled upon this track through Spotify, and was pleasantly surprised at how perfectly it closes the Advent season. Not too shabby, for an indie band. ;)

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Paving the Way

While I primarily use Magnificat magazine to pray the Liturgy of the Hours (or at least something similar), I absolutely love their daily meditations.

A few weeks ago, there was a meditation by the late German Benedictine sister Aemiliana Lohr that really got me thinking. It was rather long, so I'll summarize it for you.

When ancient kings went on a journey, they would often spend days at a time on rough, bumpy roads, which was exceedingly uncomfortable. To deal with this, the king's slaves traveled ahead of him, smoothing out all those bumps and clearing obstructions. In this way, the king had an easy path on which to travel.

The cry of John the Baptist is a simple one: "Prepare the way of the Lord! Make straight His paths!"

And that is exactly what we're to do in this Advent season, Sr. Lohr wrote.

Since reading that, an image has stuck with me that I've been unable to shake. Hills and valleys ... that's the way life is on a daily basis. And, too, so it is with my heart.

I thought I knew a fair bit about God -- who He is, what He wants of me. But to my horror, I've learned recently that the image I had of Him was backward. As much as I write here about His mercy and love, I never really embraced it for myself.

Scripture says that mountains will crumble and valleys rise up to meet Him. I see so many of those in myself. So many wounded places. I love my rough edges, but the King can't pass through as long as the way is blocked, right?

I think I'm finally ready to let God be who He wants to be: not my enemy, but my Healer.

It's already started, and the strides have been unlike anything I've ever experienced in my walk before. It's amazing what can be accomplished if we just let Him. Like Mary, saying, "Let it be done."

Maybe by Christmas, there will be a place in me for Him.

Monday, December 12, 2011

Advent Music Monday: Francesca Battistelli

Sneaking in for the last hour of this Monday for the 3rd week of Advent, here's your video for the week.

Francesca Battistelli is a vocal powerhouse who broke into the Christian music scene just a few years ago, and since then she's been writing honest, catchy melodies that keep me coming back to her.

Every now and then, though, we're treated to a more reflective side of Franny. It's in those moments that I think her gift is truly evident.

This song was actually written by Nichole Nordeman, another rare female gem in the Christian world. While I realize I posted a Marian song for last week, too, there's no better time to reflect on Our Lady. Besides, it was just too beautiful to pass up...


Monday, December 5, 2011

Advent Music Monday: Sara Groves

I've been working through a series of brief Advent reflections in the Little Blue Book this season, part of the wonderful series of Little Books for the liturgical year.

The reflection for yesterday was about Mary, and the humble circumstances that led to her becoming the Mother of God.

I'll be the first to admit that my devotion to Our Lady could be a lot stronger, likely due to the time I spent with Protestant leanings. But it's this time of year that draws me closest to her. As someone with a vocation to marriage and motherhood, it's easy to identify with the fear and wonder she experienced in those final weeks before the birth of her Son.

That image of Mary, so beautifully and blessedly human, seems more real than any other title or honor we give her.

Don't misunderstand me -- every aspect of hers is amazing.. But the simplicity and trust she gives to God in those early days, and on a daily basis afterward, speaks volumes to me.

This week, I'm sharing the song that first inspired me to reconsider Christianity. It's so honest and full of emotion ... I can imagine Mary praying these words as she prepared for the long journey to Bethlehem.


Thursday, December 1, 2011

Welcome to the Advent music series!

Advent is upon us once again, and that means I get to share some great tunes. :) I did this last year with Advent Music Mondays and am looking forward to doing it again. Excuse it being a Thursday this week -- it just means you'll get two videos a few days apart. Not so bad.

To kick off the season right, here are guitarist Trace Bundy and Christian folk-rocker Josh Garrels doing the Advent hymn par excellence.