The Christ of the carols
Maneuvering the minefield of December obligations can be tricky. There’s that family thing on Saturday and the church fellowship Sunday night. Cookie swap on Tuesday, nursing home visit on Thursday, and the office party two hours later. Caroling on Friday. And what about the Polar Express showing? Are we going? Huh, Mom? Are we going?
What are we celebrating anyway?
Not everyone knows, as evidenced by this telling quote from C. S. Lewis in “Letters to an American Lady”: “My brother heard a woman on a bus say, as the bus passed a church with a crib outside it, “Oh Lor’! They bring religion into everything. Look – they’re dragging it even into Christmas now!”
Even into Christmas. Although we might chuckle, the astute Mr. Lewis penned those words more than 50 years ago, and it’s not likely Christmas-literacy is any better today. But here’s what I’ve noticed at the school band performance and the outlet mall and the pizza place – the general public gets warm and fuzzy about Christmas carols. That’s right, Christmas carols – emphasis on the “Christ” part.
Hey, I’m all for it. Play “Silent Night” loud and long while America shops her hearts out. Let “What Child is This” flood airways normally clouded with anything but. Turn up the volume on “Joy to the World” in every doctor’s waiting room around.
Carols give us a chance to put back out there what an opposing agenda seems determined to take away – the real message of Christmas. So what if some song-singers are only in it for the tunes. “Let earth receive her King” is part of the carol package, too, whether the “Happy Holidays crowd” realizes it or not.
And as a result, the world pronounces, sings, hums, whispers, lip-syncs, shouts, chants, harmonizes and proclaims the name of Jesus more than at any other time of year – all within the happy bubble of the season, of course.
Do you hear what I hear?
“He will bring us goodness and light.’’
“Word of the Father, now in flesh appearing.”
“Veiled in flesh the Godhead see, hail th’incarnate Deity.”
“He appeared and the soul felt its worth.”
“God with man is now residing.”
Yes, I can hear the Christ of the carols, even over the filled-up calendar and the not-done-yet list and the sound of cash registers testifying to my failing battle against commercialism.
“Son of God, of humble birth, beautiful the story. Praise His name in all the earth; hail the King of glory!”
Yes, I hear, and I have hope because the words in those carols – ones like “God and sinners reconciled”— ring true.
And that’s what — no, make that Who — we celebrate at Christmas. Have a merry one, friends.
Wesson resident Kim Henderson is a freelance writer who writes for The Daily Leader. Contact her at firstname.lastname@example.org.