Happy Thanksgiving and Merry Christmas! “It’s the most wonderful time of the year!” Who remembers cramming for finals, decorating our dorm rooms and apartments, working on those last few notes and words in Jubilate rehearsal, and then packing University Chapel for Lessons and Carols?
In some ways, it feels like just yesterday. In others, it feels like a lifetime ago. Regardless, it is important for us to remember that our brothers and sisters in today’s Jubilate group are experiencing these very same emotions and events right now, just as we experienced them many (or not so many) years ago. The magic and awe of the season live on in the Charlottesville community, at University Baptist Church, and in the hearts of Jubilate members today. How can we participate and lend our support?
As the Christmas season and Advent approach, I am reminded of the Christmas carol “In the Bleak Midwinter”—one of my favorites. It is based on a poem by the English poet Christina Rossetti. The poem was published under the title “A Christmas Carol” in the January 1872 issue of Scribner’s Monthly. The poem first appeared set to music in The English Hymnal in 1906 with a setting by Gustav Holst. A few years later, in 1911, Harold Darke created an anthem setting that, in 2008, was named the best Christmas carol in a poll of some of the world’s leading choirmasters and choral experts.
Who remembers the difference between the Holst and Darke versions?
I am always struck by the text of the last stanza. Let me share it with you here.
What can I give him,
Poor as I am?
If I were a shepherd
I would bring a lamb,
If I were a wise man
I would do my part,
Yet what I can I give Him —
Give my heart.
As God’s hand has led us along in our years since the University of Virginia, we find ourselves in many different places in life—different denominations, different relationships, different geographies, different careers, and different means. But we are all united in Christ. Now is the perfect opportunity to reflect on how each of us can do our part of the Kingdom work as it relates to Jubilate. What can you give? What can you bring? What is your part? How can you help make the Jubilate experience come alive to a new generation of Christians on Grounds?
Consider making a tax-deductible donation to support Jubilate as the year draws to a close. You can do so by visiting the Jubilate website and clicking on Donate: https://jubilateuva.org/donate/.
Thank you for reading and for considering a donation this season!
Ryan Hopson (2001–2005)
Mary Sproles Martin (1981–1985, 1991–1992)