We are singing this in our concert on Sunday. Rehearsal was last night, and we were doing pretty well on all the other pieces, but this one is still a bit shaky. Perhaps listening to it will help. Listening to it a lot.

“Dona nobis pacem” of course means “Give us peace.” This is the theme of our concert, actually, and it is a worthy theme for Christmas. When I present this musical Advent calendar, I often find myself contemplating the themes of Advent, or noticing the times and places whence the music comes, or taking pleasure in the wide variety of lives and interests found among the composers of the hymns and songs. This year, at least in these first few days, I seem to be noticing the political or social causes most.

This may be the result of all the political writing I’ve been doing, or the news from Ferguson and around Ferguson, or the continued economic issues around minimum wage and healthcare and justice.

But the themes are there. Jesus was born into an ordinary family of ordinary people. He experienced injustice and spoke up for the poor and the outcasts. He preached compassion, justice, and mercy. When our Christmas celebrations become entirely focused on material goods and the most outward-looking thing we do is buying presents for our own families (along with something for ourselves), then we are not celebrating Jesus.

Asking God to give us peace could refer to the conflicts in the world. It could refer to the conflicts in our own hearts and our own lives. It could refer to conflicts we have with other people. It often seems that we are unlikely to receive any of those things. Still, there is no one more able to give them to us than God.

In unrelated news, I hit 10,000 steps yesterday — a rare occurrence.