Yes, it’s true. I have been listening to Christmas music for a few weeks now. There are a few reasons why I have been getting into the Christmas spirit a bit early this year. First, it’s because of my job. As a pastor I am forced to start thinking about Advent, Christmas and the all important Christmas Eve service while most people are still thinking about the impending leaf fall and cleanup. It takes some planning and coordination to make for a decent worship experience during Advent and Christmas. The second reason is that I really like Christmas. It reminds me of colder weather and the end of needlessly sweating while walking from my house to my van. I hate being hot. So Christmas music reminds me of cold weather, warm blankets and Peggy Miller’s Christmas candy. You haven’t lived until you’ve removed the plastic wrap over the plate of candy goodness. Epic.
But the real reason I am getting into the Christmas spirit this year is because I need Christmas. I have been moved by Christmas music this year. Not the secular “Let it snow, let it snow, let it snow” variety (let it be known that Sinatra’s version is my favorite and a requirement for listening), but the songs of the Church. Those traditional carols that our people have sung for centuries. I have been overwhelmed by their simplicity and depth this year. I mean, some of those lyrics are powerful. The one song that I cannot shake is “Oh Holy Night.” There are moments when the inner marshmallow really starts a beating. Take a look at some of the lyrics:
“Hymns of joy in grateful chorus we raise thee; With all our hearts we praise his holy name;
Christ is the Lord! Then ever, ever praise we; His power and glory ever more proclaim.”
Think about what we are saying when we sing those lyrics. This isn’t just a little baby Jesus who lies in a manger with cute animals standing around. This is the Jesus who is the Lord and King of the world. This is the Jesus who is the great lover of all people, the man who taught us how to love one another (more lyrics from the song) and the man who thought the world was worth dying for. That we as creation could be forgiven and redeemed. The Lord, the King, the Messiah who comes bursting onto the scene to say “I love you! Follow me and I will never leave you!” That’s crazy awesome! God came down to hang out with us and live with us and cry with us and laugh with us and be with us! And we want to celebrate that crazy awesomeness with crappy electronics, clothes and cheesy cards. (Ok, that might have been too grinch-like. Sorry). But Christmas is about celebrating his glory and his power.
“Fall on your knees! Oh hear the angels voices;
Oh night, divine. Oh night, when Christ was born.”
This is what I want for Christmas: I want to be overwhelmed with the majesty, glory, power and love of Jesus. I want the standing out in a vacant field while watching sheep being blown away by an angelic choir and falling on my knees out of sheer awe and love and adoration for Jesus. Seriously, I do. I want to fall on my knees and worship at Christmas. I want to be overwhelmed by the King of Kings and Lord of Lords. I want to be carried away by the Messiah who came to give me, and all of us, real life. Not life lived by fear, but a life of love and passionate pursuit of all things Him. I want to lay in that abandoned field and worship Jesus.
That’s what I want for Christmas. In fact, I really need this for Christmas.
Here is a link to my favorite version of this song http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cYGq-5DbCfk
Much Christmas love and peace to you.