Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Christmas Music

If you have been to the stores they are already playing it. And the drug stores are full of Christmas trees, lights and CD's. In fact on the radio station I listen to : zradio.org they were talking about how last year they played Christmas music consistently during the Christmas season and that 40, 000 new listeners listened. There is something about Christmas music that draws people. It also serves like a meat tenderizer to soften our hearts to receive the beauty of the King.

So last night I was surprised when I came across a plastic bag full of old tapes of Christmas music. Inside the bag were about 8 tapes, which included one by Sandy Patty and another of the Great Voices of Christmas which had Handel's Halleluyah Chorus and a solo by Luciano Pavarotti singing Ave Maria. Suddenly my very humble study became a quiet sacred place.

Christmas music does this for me. It take me to worship God and reminds me that someone had to pay a price for that beautiful event. It makes me think of the hardships Mary and Joseph suffered in getting to Bethlehem, to obey the law regardless of the fact that Mary was so advanced in her pregnancy. Disobeying the law, must have meant severe punishment. No exceptions, no leniency.

Or was there a more urgent realization? Did they know the Messiah needed to have been born in Bethlehem? Probably. Maybe she and Joseph spoke of it as they made their way there. Joseph probably told her,

"Hang on Mary, we will be there soon...
I know it has been days... Oh, there it is. ..
Bethlehem, the city of David... Look at all the people in town for the census..."

Then to arrive at an unfamiliar town, which you only knew by reference. But Mary had already been trusting God. He had shown her marvelous things through her own pregnancy and that of her cousin Elizabeth. She knew God was with her. Still we must consider the uncertainty of the details. As they asked for lodging, only to have Joseph tell her,

"No, dear, there is no room in the Inn, let's try the one down the road.
Don't cry, God has never failed us. ..
Remember his faithfulness, the angel that spoke to you and my dream...
It will be okay ...
Darling they have a stable in the back and we can rest there tonight. I will throw
down my blankets and we will be comfortable."

It still leaves me in awe. They must have been so grateful to have found at least a place to lay their heads.

Maybe one day we will know exactly how it happened. What I do know is that whenever I hear the music, I imagine the animals swinging their tales with the stark activity of life, angels peering, and children whispering as they see reenactments, all the ages compressed together. All these images draw me to that peaceful bustling manger full of reality and spirituality, humbleness and royalty, in the presence of the King. God making an entrance into this world and making an ordinary stable sacred. Even so come, Lord Jesus!

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