Annual Holiday Music Sunday 2019

At 9:00 a.m., join us as we celebrate the holidays with a hymn and carol sing-along. At 11:00 a.m., the East Shore Mighty Choir will deliver its annual Christmas Choir Concert featuring an eclectic mix of old and new favorites including a swing number celebrating Hanukkah, a brand new (and Unitarian-approved) Ave Maria, a touching angel’s lullaby and a suite of pop songs set to holiday lyrics (did you know “Nights in White Satin” could be sung with “‘Twas the Night Before Christmas?”) As always there will be special guests, musical surprises, warm laughter, sparks of joy and plenty of musical inspiration to uplift your heart and soul for the season.

Music & Life

Music is great the way it floats along. A theme is introduced and variations are interjected. It goes along and then, at a certain point: it ends. The end is not the “goal” of a strain of music. Any more than getting a green card, or a union card, becoming a partner at one’s law firm is the “goal” of life. Milestones are achieved, just as pianissimos bring things down and crescendos boom. But the variations in music are not the “goal” of music. And that’s the thing: music has no goal. It’s one of life’s adornments.

But it’s more than adornment only. At Christmas we celebrate the birth of Jesus, who—we are told—could turn water into wine. Turning water into wine, it’s always seemed to me, is what musicians do every time they play: transmuting human emotions in melody, harmony, rhythm, and resonance. How amazing is that? How miraculous! How truly holy!

For William Ellery Channing and the Transcendentalist Unitarians of the 1820s through ‘40s, Jesus was born—and is reborn today—every time we have a pure, unselfish thought or impulse; anytime we unselfconsciously make a joyful noise unto the Lord, do something original and creative, reach out in sympathy, or take a chance for love.

Life, like music, has no “goal.” Reaching the finale is not what music is about and neither is life only about that which happens at the last. Life, as much as anything, is about learning to appreciate the composition as it unfolds all along the way.

I introduced a section of the liturgy here at East Shore—the Musical Meditation—to help members, once a week, take a moment to consciously re-member their whole selves just by listening. There’s no need to rush to the “end.” You couldn’t do if you tried. You can only listen to the music… as it floats along.

Goals and ambition are good attributes… in their time and place. But Christmas at its heart is about rejoicing—making merry. Trying not to rush things. Letting them unfold, in their own time. Like beautiful music. And also like life.

May blessings abide this season.   And every season.    Amen.