Daily Connector | Advent to me | Bill Plessinger

When people talk about universal languages, music is usually mentioned. These last couple weeks I have been listening to a lot of 102.5 on the radio, and their selection of Musica Latina. I enjoy the prolific use of accordions, because it reminds me of the music of Weird Al Yankovic (I have seen him in concert 15 times). While I don’t know the particulars of how European immigrants spread the use of the accordion to the Americas, I’m sure the path is interesting. It is two peoples living thousands of miles apart, with different languages and cultures, who nonetheless share the love of the same musical instrument.

If you ever find yourself in Peru, you will invariably notice the pan flute music everywhere you go. When I was in Peru in 2007, I saw pan flute musicians in airports, on streets, on trains and on trails. Most had CD’s you could buy and I brought a couple home. Of interest is that without fail, every band I saw played at least one Beatles song. Ob-La-Di, Ob-La-Da, Revolution, Eight Days a Week. I remember them vividly. Another union of cultures separated by thousands of miles but united by music. Perhaps little green men or Thanos himself might find the music of the Beatles a better representation of humanity, more than Space Oddity on the probes that fly through the cosmos.

What does this have to do with Advent? To me, Advent is another universal language. Like music, Advent gives hope and beauty, strength and stability. I like the arrangement of candles on the dinner table, the nightly lighting ceremony, and putting into writing what you want prayers for. Not just a thought or a word, a written note. That gives it more life and allows it to live on long after the meal is a memory.

If I found myself in Mongolia and wandered into the yurt of a family of goat herders and saw the Advent candle arrangement on the table, even if we couldn’t speak the same language, I would know where their heart lies. Those that do the same things form cultures and tribes. It doesn’t matter if the language is different.

This year, everyone in our family was much more active in the Advent arrangement and ceremony. It was a small act, but that small thing brought us closer to others. It has been a rough year, with a pandemic, political strife, fear, and apathy. To make matters worse, you can’t reach out and give someone a handshake or a hug without fearing for your safety. Just the same, I enjoy seeing the number of attendees at the bottom of the screen for our online church. Some local, some who used to attend. It has nothing to do with geography. We are linked by spirit. Both our service and table might be a place a Mongolian goat herder would feel at home with. Each number on the screen represents an attendee who has a heart that is open to community, open to hope, open to God's love.