Every year about this time, I feel like I can finally stop shielding my eyes and holding my breath. What I mean is that when the first signs of Christmas marketing start showing up around mid-October, I start shielding my eyes from those decorations and holding my breath to keep from venting about how Christmas music shouldn’t be played, and Christmas decorations shouldn’t be on the shelves or in our house until after Thanksgiving! I can’t help it, that’s just the way I feel. Let’s give Halloween and Thanksgiving their due attention without having Santa and the elves crowd in, looking to make a buck or steal our emotional capital and attention. . . not that I care all that much.😉
But now, starting today, the season of Advent is here. Let’s take a moment to breathe and be thankful for the gifts of this season. Those songs that have been playing in the mall and in shops for weeks are finally welcome. You know the ones, you have heard them all so many times before. Some you love and welcome like an old, cozy sweater. They fit just right. Others you have heard done and redone ad-nauseum until they are almost no longer welcome. Do you love The Little Drummer Boy, performed and re-mixed by almost every artist you can think of, or is it overplayed and tired out? Mariah Carey’s “All I want for Christmas is you” rings throughout the hallowed halls of shopping malls. Does this capture the sentiment of the season or just seem too commercial? If you were to put together your all-time favorite Christmas playlist would these songs be on there? Music is so powerful and beautiful. Which songs are the ones you go to when you think of the best of this season?
A few classic sentiments have been part of the Christmas season since the tradition began. For centuries the church has focused on the themes of hope, joy, love, and peace throughout this season. These are the reasons for which the angels sang at the birth of the Savior. These are the sentiments the prophets stretched to offer in visions of God and his long-running providence. Hope, joy, love, and peace are everything Christ offers to those who believe. In the Gospel of Luke, Zechariah, Mary, the Angels, and Simeon all sing of these themes in connection with the coming of Jesus, our Messiah. These songs comprise what we are calling the original Christmas playlist. Over the next four weeks we will look at each of them separately. May you be blessed as we celebrate the gifts God offers in this season. They are not just for Advent, but may they be the focus for us now, to remind us to live in the hope, joy, love and peace of Christ all year long.
Because of One who has come,
The Final Countdown
Waiting for God
Be the Blessing: One Year Out
Talking With People You Disagree With
Out of the Frying Pan, Into the Fire
The Body of Christ Has Two Hands
A Long Obedience in the Same Direction