The patient impatience of Advent

Featured image: Cello ornament on one of the Christmas trees at Greencroft Goshen.

Cogitation 50 Saturday 15 December 2018   In the music of Advent I hear and see hope.

For Christians, Advent sets the stage for Christmas. The music of Advent gives voice to the longing for light to penetrate darkness.

In recent Sundays we sang, Longing for light;  Come! Walk in the light; O come, O come, Immanuel; Comfort, comfort, O my people; and, I want to walk as a child of the light.” These songs are searching,  anticipatory, affirming, resoundingly pregnant with the assurance of hope, peace and love.

Such music helps me come to terms with the social, political, economic, and, yes, religious, juggernaut that holds truth at arms length. It expresses God’s faithfulness through the ages, addressing the anguish of our day.


Yes, Chicago!

The 60′-tall Norway Spruce graces Millennium Park; the pillared building on the right is the Chicago Cultural Center.

We spent two days in Chicago, taking in the weekly Myra Hess Memorial Concert at the Cultural Center, a turn through Macy’s, Christkindlmarket, and this year, a visit to the Museum of Broadcast Communications. The latter featured a travelling exhibit of Saturday Night Live.

See for information on Myra Hess, and for Oscar Crawford’s story on first hearing her play. Oscar started a series of Dame Myra Hess commemorative recitals when he taught at Cleveland State University in Ohio.
Chicagoan Laura Kraybill, Marty Bender, Jan Lauver, and Chicagoan Oscar Crawford, gathered for the Wednesday noon Dame Myra Hess Memorial Concert at the Chicago Cultural Center.
Cellist Parry Karp, warms up. Karp played his arrangement for cello of Karol Szymanowski’s Romance for Violin and Piano in D Major, Op. 23 (8′). His second number was Rebecca Clarke’s Sonata for Cello and Piano (27′).  He was accompanied on piano by Jeffrey Sykes. Spirits soared. Wonderful!
The glorious stained-glass ceiling of the Preston Bradley Hall at the Chicago Cultural Center.



View of Chicago from Daley Plaza home to Christkindlmarket.
Bratwurst with sauerkraut filled the bill for lunch at Christkindlmarket, followed by a mug of Gluewein.


Macy’s, once upon a time Marshall Field and Company


The tree in the Walnut Room at Macy’s. We had lunch, not by the tree but at a window overlooking the city.
View from the Walnut Room, a glimpse of Chicago’s musical heritage.
Snow Baby, one of the themed Macy’s windows.


Museum of Broadcast Communications

We enjoyed seeing the special exhibit of what goes into a week of producing Saturday Night Live in New York City, as well as the permanent collection.

Media Tower at the Museum of Broadcast Communications. Artist Mark Patcfall, from Cincinnati, created the time capsule of broadcasting and tribute to the men and women who worked behind the scenes in broadcasting.
Bob Sievers (1917-2007) was a radio seasonality on WOWO Radio ,Fort Wayne, Indiana, for 51 years. He was inducted into the National Radio Hall of Fame in 2017.
Jan and Marty watch a segment of the debate between Richard Nixon and John F. Kennedy.



In 1988, Janice Wiebe Ollenburger designed this banner which was pieced and quilted by Edith Shanholt. It is called Promise. It is displayed during Advent at Prairie Street Mennonite Church, Elkhart, Indiana. Janice writes:

“We anticipate the mystery of Immanuel, Love breaking into our world of chaos, during these weeks of Advent. This quilt is to call us to that promise.

“Color and pattern are the dominant elements in this Advent quilt. The darkness of the world is expressed in the use of black. Purple represents this time of reflectiveness, a time to prepare for Immanuel. The hope of God’s promise is reflected in the blue moving throughout the piece. The yellow conveys the presence of God’s light breaking into the darkness.

“The log cabin pattern was chosen to provide the ‘world’ into which the light comes. It is a familiar pattern symbolizing home and comfort. The strip of free-form blocks breaks into that world bringing light and new ways of love into the darkness. God comes to us and dwells with us. We wait for that promise.”


The times as they should be can be heard and seen in music in the air.


One thought on “The patient impatience of Advent

  1. Sounds like your annual Chicago Christmas trip was great fun! I’m sure we’ve told you about the performance we saw one summer in Cheltenham in which Patricia Routledge (“Hyacinth Bucket”) portrayed Dame Myra Hess in a one-woman drama featuring letters written by Dame Myra during the war. In between letters, a pianist played music by Chopin — a beautiful afternoon, and such fun to see Patricia Routledge in a gentle, generous, glamorous role instead of her usual snobbery on “Keeping Up Appearances.”
    Wishing you a joyous Christmas, Marlene and Stanley


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