Christmas is radical
Have you ever paid attention to the words of Christmas songs?
I’m not talking about “Frosty the Snowman” or “Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer” or “Santa Claus is Comin’ to Town.” Those songs are fun and have a place, but they aren’t really powerful nor do they hit you square in the heart when you actually put together what is being said. I’m talking about actual Christmas carols – the songs written about the birth of Jesus Christ. They are incredibly profound and deep and can cause tears to run down your face if you truly listen to their messages.
I have a friend named Erin who I have known for several years. She has an amazing testimony and she is an incredible writer. She’s the (very pretty) face behind World at the Wayside, a blog that I’ve followed from the beginning. It has moved me and challenged me on more than one occasion. Anyway, she posted something recently about this very subject. It got me thinking.
Christmas for me, like Christmas for many, is the time of year you look forward to most. It’s a time for family, decorating a special tree, for giving gifts to the people you love (and maybe some to strangers), for gingerbread cookies and peppermint mocha lattes. It’s also a time for reflecting on the past year that God has given you, and to start thinking about how you want to live out the following year. However, Christmas can get crazy. The shopping, the cooking, the traveling, the gift wrapping, the hyper kids who are on Winter Break and have to stay inside to play since it’s too cold outside and they’re all jacked up on fudge and sugar cookies. I get it.
What I’m getting at is that it is all too easy to lose sight of what a radical miracle Christmas really is.
Our home right now is chaos. We’ve been baking and shopping and packing together two special care packages to send to my brothers who are both currently serving in Afghanistan. When I think of the sacrifices that they are making this time of year, I get all choked up. They are living in small tents and cabins in the middle of a war zone. One of them is in extremely cold parts of that country, and the other is in the desert. They both are spending the most family-oriented holidays separated from their family and from their country. They just ate Thanksgiving dinner in a tent and will be waking up Christmas morning only to put on their duty boots and serve. But the thing that makes me even more emotional is that they haven’t complained about it, not even once. They serve and celebrate Christmas separately for menial pay and they do it for love. They do it so we can all be free.
Perhaps my family’s service to America and the fact that it is December are why the following video has impacted me so much this morning. I have no idea where this Christmas caroling “flash mob” happened, or who was behind it. All I know is that it brought me to tears, twice. Not little tears. I’m talking weeping, messy tears because it impacted me so deeply.
Here are the words if you want to sing along. Or you can just listen and cry like I did. Whatever.
1Joyful, Joyful, we adore You, God of glory, Lord of love. Hearts unfold like flowers before You, opening to the Sun above. Melt the clouds of sin and sadness, drive the dark of doubt away. Giver of immortal gladness, fill us with the light of day. Come now join the chorus, giving praise to Christ our King. God’s own son has come to save us with a love unending. God of power, Christ our Savior, coming to earth with us to dwell. Now proclaiming, God is with us! He is our Emmanuel.
2O come all ye faithful, joyful and triumphant, O come ye, O come ye to Bethlehem. Come and behold Him, born the King of Angels. O come let us adore Him, O come let us adore Him, O come let us adore Him, Christ the Lord!
3Go tell it on the mountain, over the hills and everywhere! Go tell it on the mountain, that Jesus Christ is born!
4Oh holy night, the stars are brightly shining, it is the night of our Dear Savior’s birth. Long lay the world in sin and error pining, till He appeared and the soul felt His worth. A thrill of hope, the weary world rejoices, for yonder breaks a new and glorious morn. Fall on your knees! Oh hear the angel voices! Oh night divine! Oh night when Christ was born. Fall on your knees! Oh hear the angel voices! Oh night divine! O night when Christ was born! O night divine! O night divine.
Only in America could people burst into songs about the miraculous birth of the Savior of the World and not worry about being killed for it.
Watching the crowd gather as the video progresses warms my heart and reminds me of The Reason for the season. They sing only 4 songs but boy, do they get the point across. Maybe since these words remind our sinful hearts of the true beauty only found in Jesus, we are more comfortable singing about good old Frosty and Rudolph and Santa. We wouldn’t want to offend anybody, right? Well, the thing is, these songs were made to inspire us and bring us back to sincere worship of God, and turn our hearts back to Him. That’s what they’re all singing about!
I hope that video elicits some emotion in you. Say a prayer for our troops during this season and may you have an incredibly Merry Christmas!