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Waiting Close to Home

As I write this, I’m sitting with Chrissy in Rex Women’s Hospital as we await the birth of our son, Thayer, who’s coming a little earlier than we had expected.  Due to some minor complications at Chrissy’s doctor appointment yesterday, the decision was made to induce labor early for the health of both mom and baby.  Both of them are doing well and Chrissy and I are excited and eager to welcome Thayer home into this world, but he’s not quite ready yet, and so we wait…

What an incredibly floaty, fluttery, unresolved, in-between feeling it is to sit here and simply wait, remembering the births of our daughters and making arrangements for them* while also anticipating and laboring toward what is yet to come.  We have been preparing for this for quite a while, and now it’s happening, but we’re still not quite there.  This is exactly the type of feeling I tried to capture with the song I wrote for our Advent theme, Close to Home.

With the lyrics of the song, which you can read below, I did my best to capture the essence of what each week’s theme (1 – Homesick/Hope; 2 – Laying the Foundation/Peace; 3 – A Home for All/Joy; 4 – Seeking Sanctuary/Love) means to me and for us as a community of faith.  In the music, I tried to create that “in between” feeling by using a melody that never quite resolves to the tonic (“home base” for our ears) but instead moves around it.  At the end of each verse, the last “home” I sing does bring the melody to the tonic, but the chord progression doesn’t resolve to the tonic (which would sound major/”happy”), instead moving through what’s known as a deceptive cadence to the minor vi chord.  This is intended to leave the listener with a feeling of “already/not yet” regarding the resolution of the melody.  When the melody finally resolves, the chord structure doesn’t resolve in the way our ears long to hear, and so we wait…

I had intended to spend much of the day today finishing my recording of the song.  I already know how it will end.  It will eventually include harmonies, additional instrumentation, and a very welcome final resolution. But for now, the song is left unfinished and unresolved as we patiently await the new life that is coming.

May we all know the hope, peace, joy, and love of Christ throughout this Advent season, and may we all remember that God is always with us, close to home, even as we wait.

“Close to Home”
Words and Music by Christian McIvor ©2021 

After all that we’ve been through,
We‘re homesick for the world we knew but wanting more. Help us know what’s good and true
That in our hearts, O God, it’s you we’re longing for.
As we seek to build your kin-dom far and near,
Give us hope that lets us know that you’re still here,
Close to home, close to home. 

Help us now prepare a place
In us, O God, for you a space to break right through.
In our action and our word,
May your great love be felt and heard and all made new. As we lay a strong foundation on your way,
Give us peace that lets us know you always stay
Close to home, close to home. 

Help us always make the choice
To cry out loud and be the voice that welcomes all.
Let us show the whole world how
To create change, ‘cause here and now is where we’re called. We will work for justice and equality,
Give us joy that for our neighbors we might be
Close to home, close to home. 

Help us set your Spirit free,
In your abundance, let us be your open arms;
Shelter from the endless storm,
A refuge where all might stay warm and safe from harm. Let us be a sanctuary of your grace,
Give us love that we might always make this place
Close to home, close to home. 

*We are so incredibly thankful for Pastor Chrissy and the Williamsons offering to watch Juliette and River without hesitation as this birth has come earlier than expected.  We continue to be overcome with gratitude for the many ways in which the Greystone community has supported and loved us and continues to make our entire family feel perfectly at home.