An almost instant ahh of contentment presented itself as I heard the first few notes of harp music being played at the beginning of the Southeastern Minnesota Synod’s worship video for Dec. 27, 2020.

There was a little decorated tree setting on the floor in front of the big harp positioned before a large window, its dropped shade filled with calm white light. The harpist sat poised. Her wrist and fingers were like a graceful bird taking flight off the strings. “Tidings of comfort and joy,” were outlined by the fur of my slipper become phone holder as I sat stretched out on the floor.

A soloist sang with a clear ethereal voice and slight shoulder sway by the fully lit advent wreath.

Words of the readings included: “Lay bare his holy arm,” “jubilance with harp,” and “the rivers clap their hands.”

We got glimpses of cow art by curtains and bittersweet on a mantle above an inviting fire.

Then we met puppy Schnitzel, who lives in Mankato. (I wonder if my goddaughter will ever meet them at the dog park. She sent me a picture from there on Christmas Day with a long coated shadow cast upon the bright white snow. At her new job, she’ll probably become familiar with the housing nonprofit being discussed if she isn’t already.) At the conclusion of the children’s message, hands were clapped together in prayer.

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Reverend Emily preached on how Christmas isn’t the beginning of the story, it’s the continuation. The Word was in the beginning — an infinite and eternal force not best described by personal physical characteristics of height and weight. Perhaps holy vibration and reverent illumination were lovingly transmitted. We’re asked to consider a “cosmological orientation.” Zoom out, way out — not talking about a screen full of squares here — to new ways of thinking and being. “Reimagine how we do life and church.” Look up and all around, we’re told with encouragement. We may very well see and feel things that didn’t really register on us before 2020.

Ahh, more harp. (No cowbell.) The notes to “nothing you dismay” had me imagining stepping up to a merch table where along with a physical stack of tidy gleaming CD cases, truth and justice are handed out by fair-minded purveyors and enlightened keepers of the faith.