Music also takes time in another sense: it helps us see how we have changed over time by offering fresh meaning when we experience it for the second or the third or the hundredth time across the years. Think of the first time you heard a certain song about love — perhaps you and someone else called it "our song." How different it sounds ten or twenty years later, especially of you have moved on from this early love. The same dynamic also works for other kinds of songs. Both of us were caught off guard at Christmas in 2003 when we sang "O Little Town of Bethlehem." We had sung this carol hundreds of times before, but this time the newspapers were filled with stories and pictures of hatred and bloodshed in Bethlehem. We found the familiar lines deeply sobering, in a way they had not been in earlier Christmas seasons: "Yet in thy dark streets shineth the everlasting light; the hopes and fears of all the years are met in thee tonight." As we thought of the hopes and fears of both the Israelis and Palestinians, we experienced in a new and powerful way our deep yearning for peace and light in that place.

Don Saliers, Emily Saliers, A Song To Sing, A Life to Lead