I don't usually post on a Saturday, but today is a perfect day to be sitting at my computer writing, so here I am.
Did you see my cover picture? Well that explains, why I am sitting at my computer writing. We are getting snow - a LOT of snow. It started overnight and is supposed to leave us 20-25 cm by the time it is through.
It's a very gentle falling snow - not the type we usually get here in Manitoba, I suspect it is filled with water and if the temperatures warmed enough it would be gone, but I can't see that happening, so I guess it is ours until spring.
It's been a slow day. I finished the last of my projects for my sale on Thursday evening, yesterday I finished pricing and packing everything up, so today is sort of a rest day for me.
Even though my sale hasn't come and gone yet - my mind is already on my next major project. This one occurs Dec 10th. I am playing my first Festival of Nine Lessons and Carols. I am not stranger to this service, I have sung it many times in the choir, and have heard it many years when our Son was a boy chorister. It is one of my favourite events of Christmas. It is a simple service of the nine lessons ( readings) of Christmas, and the singing of many many carols.
Our little church doesn't have a choir to sing some of the music, so I decided I would play selections where a choir would normally sing - so I will be playing 17 carols - some to be sung, and some just me and the organ.
It's quite the undertaking for me the non-organist, but the organ and I are starting to really get to know one another, so I think we will do fine!
Today I decided that perhaps I should get out some popular Christmas music and start practicing that for the nursing home. I have a huge Christmas book with nice arrangements so this morning I started practicing.
At the back of this book there are some more challenging Christmas and New Years songs. One I forgot was in there, is one I really love.
FOR THY MERCY AND THY GRACE.
The music for this piece was written by Georg Christoph Strattner - an Austrian born composer from the 1600's. It is a beautiful piece of music that always tears me up when I play it... and I'm not sure why.
Same thing happened this morning when I played it, and I was so moved that when I finished playing the song I bent over and kissed the keys of my piano.
I have no idea why - I have never done that before, but just at that moment I was so very thankful for the gift of music, and for my ability to play it.
Right on the heels of that kiss came another thought - I am so very thankful that my parents gave me the opportunity to learn to play the piano. Even though they had little money for frivolous things back then, they somehow found a way to buy a piano and pay for lessons with a Registered Conservatory teacher. Their actions have given me a lifetime of pleasure, comfort and purpose, because of everything I do - I love to play the piano the most.
So many times in my life, I have turned to my instrument - whether it be a keyboard, upright, or spinet, whether it be electronic, hammer, or air. I have turned to it for that which nothing else can give me... Comfort, peace, or pure enjoyment. My life just would not be the same without it.
So on this snowy day, once more - one song has taken me here - to share this experience with you.
My oh My - how lucky I am.
FOR THY MERCY AND THY GRACE
(Words by Rev. Henry Downton 1843)
For thy mercy and thy grace,
Constant through another year,
Hear our song of thankfulness,
Father, our Redeemer, hear.
Lo! our sins on thee we cast,
Thee, our perfect sacrifice,
And, forgetting all the past,
Press towards our glorious prize.
Dark the future; let thy light
Guide us, bright and morning star;
Fierce our Foes, and hard the fight,
Arm us, Saviour for the war.
In our weakness and distress,
Rock of strength , be thou our stay;
In the pathless wilderness
Be our true and living way.
Who of us death's awful road
In the coming year shall tread,
With thy rod and staff, O God,
Comfort thou his dying bed.
Keep us faithful, keep us pure,
Keep us evermore thine own.
Help, O help us to endure;
Fit us for the promised crown.