Advent is a season of expectant waiting and preparation. During the four weeks leading up to the Feast of the Nativity on December 25, Christians also incorporate a longing for the parousia, the Second Coming of Christ.
In keeping with the poignant, not-yet spirit of this season, we offer these variations on the theme of Advent, by members of the Gordon community. Maia Mattson ’13 reflects on a stunning exhibit of Roualt prints in the Barrington Center. Rachel Bell ’12, from Zimbabwe, provides an ex-pat's take on Bing Crosby’s 1943 classic, “I’ll Be Home for Christmas.” Gregor Thuswaldner, associate professor of German and linguistics, reveals some surprising history of a beloved Christmas carol in “A Silent Night in Salzburg.” Bruce Herman, professor of art, reflects in a Christianity Today essay on the particular beauties of the City of Boston during this season. Finally, we reproduce Mark Sargent’s brief but compelling greeting from this year’s Christmas Gala program, a meditation on lights—and Light.
Why I'll Still Be Home for Christmas
Rachel Bell '12
I learned who Bing Crosby was in 2005, during my first Christmas in America. Crosby’s bright smile and rich, deep voice floated out from my grandparents’ television as he sang “I’ll Be Home for Christmas.” My family had moved from Zimbabwe to New Jersey in February of that year; I’d seen my first snow 30 days earlier on Thanksgiving morning.
A Silent Night in Salzburg
I grew up in Salzburg, Austria. Known today mostly for its genius loci, Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart, the world renowned Salzburg Festival (one of the most important music and theater festivals in Europe), and the 1965 classic film, “The Sound of Music,” Salzburg is a beautiful city. But it has not always been a peaceful one.
Seeing Christ in Darkness
Maia Mattson '13
Natural light pours through the high, vaulted skylights of the starkly-furnished Barrington Gallery, reflecting off the lacquered pine floors and creating an ethereal, meditative space, a space complementing the deeply personal and reflective work of French artist Georges Rouault (1871–1958). Yet this light, tranquil atmosphere also forms an ironic backdrop to the haunting nature of the engravings, which feature figure in various attitudes of despair, depravity, and confusion.
It’s hard to celebrate Christmas without lights. We string them on lampposts, wrap them around pines, or set candles in the window. Lights kindle hope, and trumpet the coming of Christmas. If your street is dark in December that must mean that the Grinch lurks nearby. Or perhaps Scrooge just stopped payments to National Grid.
Boston at Christmas: Beauty, History, and That New England Frankness
At this time of year, as we move toward year's end and enter Advent once more, I find myself filled with gratitude to the founders of our nation and for the sacrificial way Bostonians over the centuries have attempted to provide the best in art and education for our citizens and visitors from around the world.