An Advent Violin



He, Ilya, the world renowned violinist

from Russia,

before only forty people


Not a Stradi or Guarneri.

No, he made another fine violin sing –

with simply wood and strings

and a horsehair bow –

it sang of Spain and France and America

and Russia – and dance and life and sadness.

Simple elements of the earth

vibrated, making it come alive,

waking us up.

Ilya became the vibration of his instrument.

As he breathed, it breathed.


Then he told a story of another violin –

one that was played by a violin legend –

a violin so famous, it is kept under glass,

perfectly preserved for all to see;

but, Ilya said, this violin is asleep.

No vibrations to enliven it.

No vibrations to awaken it – or the violinist –

or the listeners.


I want to cry out, “Wake up!

and play the vibrations of life and beauty,

of incarnation and love.

Wake up to do what you were meant to do.




November 16, 2017, Jannel Glennie

Illustration by Christy Randall