So, every year for the past few years, I have spent the Christmas season surfing through the radio stations, desperate for anything but Christmas music. This year has been much of the same. One or two days of Christmas music and I was caught up. In light of the reality that I’ve been somewhat of a scrooge over the past few Christmases (read my blog: My Christmas Emotions), I decided to talk to God about my aversion to Christmas music. It went something like this, “Okay, God, you know how I feel about Christmas music. It’s overplayed, aggravating, and gets old fast. However, I know that a lot of these songs were written about you, so please help me make some peace with Christmas music this season.”
A few days after I had my conversation with God, I was driving down the road and heard the chorus of a song by Kutless: “What is Christmas, If there never was a Savior wrapped in a manger? What is Christmas without Christ?” It suddenly dawned on me that without Jesus’ birth, there never would have been his death. Without Jesus’ birth there never would have been his resurrection. Without Jesus’ birth, there never would have been grace, mercy and forgiveness of sins. Without Jesus’ birth, I never would have been set free from sin and given a second chance at life. Without Jesus’ birth, mankind would have no hope.
Immediately I thanked God for sending Jesus to be born. I spent several minutes thanking him for saving me and never giving up on me. Once I was able to beat the tears back, I vowed to try a little harder to listen to the words in some of these Christmas songs that I had been flipping past. I have done a lot better over the past few weeks, but I’ll be honest with you, I was dreading the Christmas music at church today.
I snuck into the back row after the music had already begun. The praise team started singing a less common Christmas song that I actually like, “O Come, O Come, Emmanuel”. I focused in on the words and my heart felt like it wasn’t big enough to contain the message in those lyrics. Verse one was all Jesus about freeing the Israelites from their captivity, or their sin. I couldn’t help but think about what my life was like before Jesus got full control: “O come, O come Emmanuel, And ransom captive Israel, That mourns in lonely exile here, Until the Son of God appear, Rejoice! Rejoice! Emmanuel, Shall come to thee, O Israel.” Then the next verse made me smile from ear to ear. What a change Jesus makes in our lives! He replaces the darkness and brings so much hope: “O come, Thou Day-Spring, come and cheer, Our spirits by Thine advent here, Disperse the gloomy clouds of night, And death’s dark shadows put to flight. Rejoice! Rejoice! Emmanuel, Shall come to thee, O Israel.” The last verse we sang wrapped it all up for me. Jesus is truly the desire of every person’s heart, even when we don’t realize that he is the answer. I remember trying to satisfy my soul with everything else but him, but only being satisfied when he got full control: “O come, Desire of nations, bind, In one the hearts of all mankind, Bid Thou our sad divisions cease, And be Thyself our King of Peace, Rejoice! Rejoice! Emmanuel, Shall come to thee, O Israel.”
As the song ended, I made peace with Christmas music. I silently told God thank you for speaking so directly to my heart. That’s something I have come to love about God over these past few years: he knows me and he goes to great lengths to show me that love. He takes time to make things personal. He even took time to help me make peace with Christmas music. He’s just so patient with us sometimes!