22.11.11

I Hear Those Bells...


I know it is early, but I can't help it. Each year part of me despairs as all of the wrong things about Christmas show up earlier and earlier. Yet, each year another part of me can't wait. It is a joyous season and I enjoy celebrating the incarnation of Jesus the Christ. 

At various times in Christian history Christmas has been a non-event, a major festival day, a day reviled as nothing more than a Christian overlay on a pagan holiday (yes, early evangelicals refused to celebrate Christmas! Think about that for a moment), and an overly consumer-ized celebration of consumption, among other things of course. 

As I think about the many ways in which Christmas has been misused, at the 'questionable' origins of much of what we now celebrate (from the date itself on to many of the trimmings) I am tempted to bow my head in despair, but then I cannot help but hear that old, familiar, carol play: 

...
And in despair I bowed my head:
"There is no peace on earth," I said
"For hate is strong and mocks the song
of peace on earth, good will to men."

Then pealed the bells more loud and deep:
"God is not dead, nor doth he sleep;
The wrong shall fail, the right prevail,
with peace on earth, good will to men."
...

And I cannot help but be reminded that if we use this as an opportunity to worship God, to celebrate the truth of the coming of Jesus the Christ, and His future return, then the bells of Christmas can ring out loud and clear no matter how deep we try to bury them in whatever current mistake is in style. 

So, here's to the start of a GOOD Christmas Season! May it be, for you and I, a season filled with generosity, not only to our loved ones, but most especially to the stranger, the sojourner, and the enemy. May it be a season filled with peace, the peace of Christ which transcends understanding, and good will lived out in meaningful and sacrificial ways to all those God brings into our lives. 



(P.S. The carol I quoted is "I Heard the Bells on Christmas Day." Casting Crowns has a newer version of it out, but the best is, in my mind, still the one done by Jars of Clay from their album "Christmas Songs".)

1 comment:

Charlotte said...

Agree with you. Thanks for this one.