This month our collective focus at UUBerks is exploring ways in which our times call us to “Open to Joy.”
Certainly the music of this month often resounds with Joy. A lot of songs tell us to be joyful “Rejoice! Rejoice! Rejoice Greatly!” Handel wrote. He also has that lasting ditty “Hallelujah.” There’s more recent additions to the Christmas season cannon wishing everyone “Happy Holidays,” and “We Wish You a Merry Christmas,” and have us scurrying all about in Jingle Bells’s scene of “dashing through the snow!”
Sometimes though, all of this expected merry making is just a bit overwhelming. Sometimes my heart grows three times smaller and more closed off as we are told to be joyful when … insert awful personal, local or global tragedy here … and the Christmas machine keeps humming.
But there are quieter songs, sadder songs, wishful and wistful songs too. Songs like “River” by Joni Mitchell, hymns like Still, Still, Still, or sneakier songs with joy and sorrow like Judy Garland’s classic recording of “Have Yourself A Merry LIttle Christmas.”
It’s songs like these that help me reopen to joy after the sonic joyful onslaught of tinsel and jubilation. What do you hear in the songs of the season? Do you hear the reindeer approaching? Do you hear the joy? Does what you hear help you reopen to joy? I hope so.