Wednesday, December 3, 2014

“Every year we celebrate the holy season of Advent, O God. Every year we pray those beautiful prayers of longing and waiting, and sing those lovely songs of hope and promise.” — Karl Rahner

    For the past couple of years, around this time, someone always posts a link to the beautiful Cloverton version of Leonard Cohen’s “Hallelujah” which always touches me at the core of my being and brings me to tears.  I highly recommend it and you can find it at the following URL on YouTube:  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MTMuWs45lL4  
     What most don’t know or don’t take the trouble to find out is that the song it is based upon was written by a Jew about the loss of faith of David, Samson, and the singer himself with the word “hallelujah” used in the saddest and most sarcastic tone I’ve ever heard.  This song also brings tears to my eyes but it is because it is about a man who is comparing himself to King David’s and Samson’s horrible experiences with women which matches his own.  Many people have recorded this and it is available on YouTube in many forms by many artists.  I recommend the one by Bon Jovi at this URL: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RSJbYWPEaxw but there are others, even one by Susan Boyle.   My wife, Karen, said she thought it was the saddest song she had ever heard as the man singing it had never known the joy of a love that lasts a lifetime.  This is, of course, what Advent is all about, the coming of a love that would last for the entire life of mankind.  Christ brought His love, His forgiveness, His suffering, His triumph, and His promise of peace to every single one of us.  To listen to the original sad version of “Hallelujah” and then to follow it with the Cloverton, Advent version is to experience the change to clean hearts that Christ came to create.  You go from sadness and pity for the man who never found the love that would make him whole to the the love that Christ brought us on that silent night with only shepherds to see the beginning to the changing of the world by His love.  There is a complete (all six verses) version of the sad song sung by the writer also available on YouTube (runs over seven minutes), but it is just too sad for me to hear--the Bon Jovi version is bad enough, although I would recommend downloading the lyrics to the original to read along as Bon Jovi doesn’t articulate very well yet the message comes across very well indeed.  There are lots of videos and movies and songs that get us ready for Christmas, but this combination of the sad followed by the joyous is the best I have ever seen to truly illuminate the meaning of Advent.  This will take some time on your part, and may even require you to find a ten-year-old to do the computer stuff for you, but believe me, if you watch and listen to them from the Bon Jovi sad to the Cloverton joyous, Advent will never be the same for you.  It is worth your time and may change your whole attitude towards Christmas.  You’re welcome.
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