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Singing in tune

Meg Mirshak | Thursday, December 2, 2010

A full orchestra tuning their instruments prior to the start of a concert sounds utterly peaceful to my ears. Violins, cellos, flutes, horns and a host of other instruments adjust their pitches in preparation for a night of music. The brass, the upper and lower strings, the wind and the percussion instruments “tune up” to make one perfectly harmonious and beautiful sound.

From my seat in a concert hall, I often find myself with large eyes and a slight grin in awe of the sound and sight on stage. How is it that a multitude of instruments all comprised of varying materials and components create a united sound of heavenly bliss?

During this liturgical season of Advent, we prepare ourselves for the calm and silent night when Christ the Lord is born into our world. Churches across the globe will be filled with trumpets and song for the newborn Savior. We will praise God with the voice of the angels proclaiming, “Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace among those whom he favors.”

The Christ-child born on that night fulfills God’s promise of a king to save the nations. He will rule over a kingdom where peace and goodness alone prevail.

Before jumping ahead on the calendar, let us rewind to the second reading for this coming Sunday, the second week of Advent:

“May the God of endurance and encouragement grant you to think in harmony with one another, in keeping with Christ Jesus, that with one accord you may with one voice glorify the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ.” (Romans 15: 5-6)

Even in the midst of stressful academic weeks and pre-Christmas festivities, these verses provide us a simple approach to the Advent season. We are a multitude of people comprised of various talents, tastes, habits, and limitations. Oftentimes, we desire to serve own wants first, yet we must think of others needs before our own. We must attune our hearts and minds to the way and the will of the Lord.

Sometimes we only need a little tweaking to align our lives with God’s song of unity and peace. Take what does not look or sound so beautiful in your life and make a minor adjustment, like the instruments of an orchestra. Here are a few suggestions among countless opportunities on campus for finding peace in the Advent of Christ’s coming:

• Focus on forgiveness. Attend reconciliation at the Basilica or seek forgiveness from a friend. Examine your own life for ways you can repent.

• Bestow goodness on others. In gratitude for the gifts you have been given, find an opportunity to pay forward an act of kindness. The Center for Social Concerns is sponsoring a coat drive through Dec. 10.

• Pray in silence. Bring peace to your heart by attending a campus-wide Lucernarium prayer service in Lewis Hall Chapel on Monday night at 10 p.m. If you cannot make it, gather around the Advent wreath in your dorm chapel at your own time.

• Live in joy. Sing together with friends and support the Holy Cross Missions in Uganda by attending Christmas at the CoMo, a music concert by the Celebration Choir on Dec. 8 at 7:30 p.m.

Undoubtedly it is a difficult time to draw our attention away from the stress and pressures of the next few weeks. That makes just one half-hour opportunity focusing on God and the coming of Christ all the more rewarding.

An orchestra that neglects to tune its instruments plays a dastardly out-of-tune performance. A people that disregards the Advent weeks of preparation risk losing the peaceful sound reverberating on Christmas night.

We bring peace on earth when we act with one accord and one voice, as one people. Our campus will be ready for the joyful spirit of Christ’s coming, if we make adjustments to our instruments during the Advent season. Then we can carry on the peaceful spirits to our homes and churches as Christ’s birth draws near.

This week’s Faithpoint is written by Meg Mirshak, intern in the Office of Campus Ministry. She can be reached at mmirshak@nd.edu

The views expressed in this column are those of the author and not necessarily those of The Observer.