If It’s the Beaches [lyrics+image]

I’m working on a little song lyrics-and-imagery project…taking my favorite songs and pictures and putting them together. I know: no one’s EVER done that before.

I have so many random images that I should be using in some way; this project is one of my ideas.

Here’s the story behind this one: In early October, The Avett Brothers visited Tuscaloosa, and Karl took Hannah, Ben, and me to see them. One of the final songs they performed was, “If It’s the Beaches.” Y’all. It took every ounce of self-control to prevent a full-on ugly cry. I could just see Hannah turning to me and asking, “Mom, why are you dissolving in a puddle of your own tears and regrets? Roll my eyes.” But I held it together, let a respectable amount of tears fall, and focused on breathing through the lump lodged in my throat. Because that last verse is so me. (I suppose this is true of everyone to an extent. At least everyone who isn’t into retail therapy.) From the time I was a little girl, when life became too much, I ran away to the woods. When I could drive, I’d throw a few things together and hit the road. Just drive. Even if it meant I only got as far as the riverside, I had to go. A few times, though, I took day-trips to Gulf Shores. Running away is never an option nowadays. But, still, sometimes it’s the beaches that I want. And to have the one I love listen and respond rather than judge and condemn is the risky, disarming, loving, and most unexpected thing.

The photo is one I snapped under a sunrise in Gulf Shores, AL, December 2011.

So. Here’s a little Christmas gift from me to fellow Avett fans, hopeless romantics, and women everywhere who feel like running away sometimes. Pin it. Download it. Have it printed up nice for your special someone.

Click here to download hi-res file for printing

And here’s a video of The Avett Brothers performance of “If It’s the Beaches”

Sunday Hymn: Hark! The Herald Angels Sing

Hark! The herald angels sing,
“Glory to the newborn King!
Peace on earth and mercy mild;
God and sinners reconciled.”
Joyful, all ye nations rise.
Join the triumph of the skies.
With angelic host, proclaim,
“Christ is born in Bethlehem!”
Hark! The herald angels sing,
“Glory to the newborn King!”

Christ, by highest heav’n adored,
Christ, the everlasting Lord!
Late in time, behold Him come,
Offspring of a Virgin’s womb.
Veiled in flesh, the Godhead see,
Hail, the incarnate Deity,
Pleased as man with man to dwell,
Jesus, our Emmanuel!
Hark! The herald angels sing,
“Glory to the newborn King!”

Hail, the heav’n-born Prince of Peace!
Hail, the Son of Righteousness!
Light and life to all He brings,
Ris’n with healing in His wings!
Mild, He lays His glory by,
Born, that man no more may die,
Born, to raise the sons of earth,
Born, to give them second birth,
Hark! The herald angels sing
“Glory to the newborn King!”

This is probably my most favorite Christmas carol. We were singing it last night in the van when Karl remarked, “There is a lot of good theology in that one.”
He’s right.

Sunday Hymn: Come, Thou Long-Expected Jesus

This morning we sang, “Come, Thou Long Expected Jesus,”  to the tune of “Our Great Savior” (a.k.a. “Jesus, What a Friend for Sinners”).  Everything progressed smoothly: the words appeared on the screen at just the right time.  This is always a good thing because (most of the time) those of us on the “praise team” do not know the words to the songs we’re singing.  I mean, we’re familiar enough with the tunes and the words to sing the songs, but we do not memorize them.

Sunday evening we sang it again.  This time, however, the words to the second verse didn’t make it to the screen at the right time.  And we were left standing there with our mouths open, not knowing what to say.

If time ever stops, it does so in moments like those.  24 beats felt like three minutes.  My brain had plenty of time to tell my mouth to start belting out, “Haaaalleluujah, what a Saavior/ Halleluuujah, whaat a friend…”  But then my poor brain told my mouth, “Hold up!  Wrong song…my bad.”

All we (the praise team) could do was stand and smile, while the congregants, who were holding hymnals, continued singing. It made me laugh (on the inside).

In the end, the words appeared on the screen in time for us to sing the final lines.

And so, because it is Advent season and because I (apparently) need to learn the words, I am posting this hymn today.

Come, Thou Long-Expected Jesus

Charles Wesley, 1744

Come, Thou long-expected Jesus
Born to set Thy people free.
From our fears and sins release us;
Let us find our rest in Thee.

Israel’s Strength and Consolation,
Hope of all the earth Thou art —
Dear Desire of every nation,
Joy of every longing heart!

Born Thy people to deliver,
Born a Child and yet a King,
Born to reign in us forever,
Now Thy gracious kingdom bring.

By Thine own eternal Spirit,
Rule in all our hearts alone.
By Thine all sufficient merit,
Raise us to Thy glorious throne.

Please do not misunderstand my intentions behind sharing this.  I do not mean to make a disparaging comment about the people in charge of putting the words on the screens at our church.  After all, the Lord and I both know that I couldn’t handle the pressure to get all the audio/video/input/output/sound mixing just right to please everyone.  I’d end up hiding under the sound board in the fetal position after a few minutes.

What I will say is this:  I do think sometimes that we (churches in America, in general) are not doing ourselves any favors when we make worship so technologically cumbersome.  But, I guess, this is the age in which we live.  All the more reason to sing it again.