And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host, praising God and saying, ‘Glory to God in the highest heaven, and on earth peace among those whom he favors!’ (Luke 2:13-14)

One again, we confront a letter with too many Advent possibilities. ‘M’ should be for Mary, the mother of our Lord, who gave Jesus birth and wrapped him in loving care. Can there be any more important ‘M’ as we approach Christmas than Mary? She held the light of the world in her arms and felt his beating heart.

But there is another Advent ‘M,’ mystery. The divine wonder, the Loving Mystery who is the Source of all life becomes flesh, wears a human face, an infant face, that we might know the Unknowable Love … God is. The eternal God in mortal flesh, is there a bigger mystery?

But still I must choose a different ‘M,’ music, and here’s why.

The mystery that Immortal Love appears in mortal flesh, born of Mary, cannot be conveyed in preachers’ words or even the most sophisticated intellectual construct. Only music can do this. Words cannot bear the weight of wonder.

But music, say … a hushed strain of Silent Night, transports the heart into the heart of love God is, rendering words a meaningless distraction.

Early today, Franz Biebel’s Ave Maria whispered through the stereo as the wan, violet light of a winter morning shadowed the living room. Blessed are you if you know the piece. Listening, rapt in its exquisite beauty, refusing to wipe away the tears, my heart knew, beyond any and every word ever spoken, the mystery of this Love who is beyond all knowing.

It’s no wonder the angels sang on that Christmas hillside long ago. Words just wouldn’t do.

Pr. David L. Miller