I was settling in for a busy day. Good tasks, irritating tasks – the usual mix. I opened Pandora and clicked on “Christmas station.”
Up came “Silent Night” — in one of the Celtic languages. Simple, passionate, clear, no orchestration, just a woman singing in the tongue of angels.
Then came Welsh singer Aled Jones performing “O Holy Night.” Once a boy chorister of great renown, Jones has survived voice change and become a popular tenor and television personality. (Here’s a nice video of Jones the boy and Jones the man performing a duet: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5aP2FMuvwkk&feature=related.)
Some venues become known as “thin places,” and people make pilgrimages to them. But in my experience, “thin places” appear by surprise. I am engaged in something else, and suddenly, as the great preacher Phillips Brooks saw when gazing on Bethlehem after the American Civil War, “the dark night wakes, the glory breaks.”
If you don’t need glory to take a familiar form or tongue, it’s amazing what can appear.