It's been unseasonably warm this week, and all the snow is gone. There wasn't a lot to begin with, really. Not like last year when we had about 34 inches of snow by this time and had already run out of places to put it.
There are good things about the weather (especially when you consider 34 inches of snow last year). It's not bitter cold, and right now driving around for those last-minute Christmas gifts and obligations does not carry additional stress. But last night the wind came up, and there was no snow, and it just seemed cold, and barren and dark.
We went Christmas shopping, just a little. We were at a large neighborhood mall, where they were playing particularly taste-less non-Christmas Holiday songs, songs that made my husband want to buy something quick and get back out of there, songs that tempted me, just for a moment, to think there really might be a war on Christmas. Yes, the music was that bad. The clerk, however, was friendly and helpful.
We wandered around the mall a little bit, to get some exercise and to look around, maybe to get some Christmas spirit. Christmas is slow coming this year. The tree is not up yet, there just a few decorations put up so far. The creche is missing a wise man. I am working on a knitting project which will be a gift, and have noticed a couple of mistakes that I can't fix, and get depressed by that. I wanted it to be perfect.
We wandered around the mall a little bit, and I heard live music coming from the mall. It was a small brass band, a community band, I think. They were playing Christmas carols. They weren't perfect, but there weren't too many bad notes, actually. Shortly after I started listening, they began a new song, one that sounded vaguely familiar, but I wasn't sure why. I stood and listened as the theme returned again and again, and a lump formed in my throat and tears formed at the bottoms of my eyes.
I asked my husband later, and he said that the song was, "What Sweeter Music," by John Rutter.
What sweeter music can we bring,
Than a carol, for to sing
The birth of this our heavenly King?
Awake the voice! Awake the string!
Heart, ear, and eye, and everything.
Awake! the while the active finger
Runs division with the singer.
Dark and dull night, fly hence away,
And give the honor to this day,
That sees December turned to May.
Dark and dull night, fly away, sing the sweeter music
and the imperfect will be perfect
or at least will be sufficient
and the dark will be light
and the house will be bright with God's presence.
It is not ordinary time.