Eternal Light

Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!

I hope that you all were able to have a meaningful celebration of Christmas this week and are able to find rest amidst the holiday hub-bub that tends to take over at this time of the year!

I want to provide a little “light” (… get it?) on the subject of why I chose the Lux Aeterna for the choir to sing during Advent this year. I recognize that upon reading these texts they may seem, well, somewhat grim at first.

This season of Christmas and the new year are festive and joyous for many of us. It is a season full of family and food, friends and food, vacations with new food, holiday parties with festive foods, and gift exchanges with snacky foods. It’s fun! And filling! We hear music on the radio that brings back distinct memories from our past. We participate in traditions that we’ve held for years and perhaps we even start new traditions!

But this time of the year can also be trying, overwhelming, and dim for many of our friends, family, and neighbors. Some we may never expect who don’t want to express their true feelings for the fear of being a “burden” or the fear of extinguishing the spark of Christmas joy that is in us. There are people in our midst that are hurting. I think of my friend, a former Fulbright Scholar at UT who was told this week that he can no longer live with his parents in the Dominican Republic because they couldn’t grapple with his homosexuality. I think of another friend who lost her father to ALS the day after Christmas two years ago. I think of you, Friend, who may be hurting in ways that you keep hidden from us.

Morten Lauridsen wrote his Lux Aeterna while his mother was dying. He sought out these texts about light to comfort him and his mother. This is a piece of healing and of light for those who are living. Requiem aeternam dona eis, Domine (Eternal rest grant to them, O Lord). This is rest from grief, rest from depression, rest from the emotional turbulence, ease of mind. Grant them eternal peace, O Lord. Et lux perpetua luceat eis (and let perpetual light shine upon them). Lighten their hearts and help them bear the weight that is upon them.

This is a hard time for many. This piece was for them. For you. My hope is that you found meaning in hearing these words of comfort and light.

If you’d like to listen again, follow this link to see our video on YouTube.

With love,

Jonathan Castillo
Minister of Music & Outreach

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