Published: February 2010
It was a dark, cold and treacherous snowy drive to the Church of the Epiphany in Oakville on January 3. The snow was falling and Ministry of Transport road works crews were scarce on that stretch of highway between Hamilton and Oakville. I thought of the Wise men. Did they encounter similar difficulties on their way to finding the Christ Child? At least they had a built in GPS. I had the Golden Horseshoe road map book. Their roads would not have been as clearly defined or as straight or busy. They would probably have gone for kilometres before seeing another camel or person. It wasn't much different on the QEW. Was the only treacherous occurrence Herod's invitation to return and bring him word that he too might worship the "king"? Whatever obstacles or delays, our caravans made it safely to our destinations and we were equally rewarded.
David Meanwell, music director of the Church of the Epiphany and the choir presented a most delightful and magnificent evening of lessons and carols to celebrate the Epiphany of our Lord. What better place to celebrate the Epiphany of our Lord! Three of the six carols chosen were "old' favourites of mine. Memories flooded back from my school days in England singing in the choir.
It was all I could do not to sing along. "Joseph Gentle, Mary Mild", the first carol, set the tone for the service. A good friend had accompanied me to the church. After every carol we would turn to each other and smile or nod our heads. The gesture confirming that we were enthralled and enjoyed that particular carol. An added bonus was the Very Reverend Peter Wall, Dean of Niagara, who joined the choir for the evening as a guest soloist. The program also enabled the congregation to join in several carols. My very favourite, the plainsong "Of Eternal Love Begotten", certainly confirmed that I had made the right decision to venture out that evening.
It was a wonderful way to begin the year. I had unfortunately missed several Advent Carol services because of commitments and general pre-Christmas activities. Perhaps some people are wondering why someone would drive all the way from Hamilton on such a dreadful evening. Was I out of my mind? Did someone ask the Wise Men the same question? Their trek took months longer. They didn't really know what to expect. Perhaps I didn't either but I knew the organist well.
I had been in attendance at a dinner party where the event had been discussed and thought it would be a great opportunity to hear David play and listen to his choir. I was not disappointed. He certainly generates a magnificent sound from the small organ. I can only guess what he would do if he had a pipe organ at his fingertips.
Many thanks to the greeters and the Reverend Suzanne Craven for making strangers feel welcome to their church. I am sure Joseph and Mary were as welcoming to the Wise Men.
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