In addition to a bunch of holiday and holy days, this month also marks the 250th anniversary of Beethoven’s birth. (Just in case you are looking for another reason to celebrate something.)

One of Beethoven’s most cherished pieces is the final movement of his Ninth Symphony, titled “Ode to Joy.” Since its premier in Vienna on May 7, 1824, this music has been loved and used in so many ways, bringing together people in movements for peace and justice. Beethoven was a composer and philosopher who believed in love, joy, unity, and tolerance to overcome adversity. His work has inspired imagination, aspiration and hope in so many people over the ages.

As we approach the end of this historic year, in the dark of winter, I offer two versions of this famous and inspirational piece of music, which is so much more.

The first is a pop-up concert in Europe. (In addition to the music, my favorite part is watching the delight.)

The second is an ad for a Japanese mobile phone maker, NTT Docomo.

It’s worth it to watch to the end.

In this season of holidays and holy days, may you find moments of joy.

Blessings on your holidays and the new year.

Rev. Mary