Chant and Christmas: Reminders of our extraordinary heritage
I don’t know that there is anything quite like the Genealogy which is chanted on Christmas Eve or the Proclamation of the Birth of Christ which many of us were privileged to hear on Christmas Day. Each one reminds us of thousands of years of lineage leading to the birth of Christ and by extension, our salvation. Each reminds us that God had Jesus’ birth in mind for centuries before it came to fruition. However, it’s the reference to events – such as the Olympic games – and to the everyday people who were part of the line of David and ultimately Christ himself, that I find most striking.
I had the privilege of cantoring the Genealogy this year, and found myself “washed over” by the sheer enormity of time and life represented in each name as it came and went. The chant itself seemed to take these names and events and simply lift them from temporal time to eternal time. I remember thinking as I left the ambo that I had just taken a very unique journey and I did not want to leave it.
As we give ourselves to the practice of chanting, I would challenge all of us to find that same “journey”. Whether a Kyrie, one of the propers, or a Litany, let’s work to discover the journey on which the chant would take us inside of the scriptures which it so beautifully serves.