The Songs of Christmas: Day 9

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The Voice of Christmas

I grew up as the eleventh of thirteen children, and only a few television shows really mirrored the nuances of our family dynamic.  Actually, I can only recall three contenders — Eight is Enough (eight children), The Waltons (seven children), andThe Brady Bunch (six children).  The Valley family identified with The Brady Bunchso much that we use the moniker “The Valley Bunch.”

Large families operate like small businesses depending heavily on efficiency, delegation, and teamwork. Nothing breaks the delicate balance of a large family like the unexpected. One of my favorite Christmas memories is wrapped up in “The Voice of Christmas”  from season one of The Brady Bunch in which the family deals with the unexpected right before Christmas .
In this episode the Bradys are preparing to celebrate their first Christmas together. Carol has been busy decorating the house, shopping for the kids, wrapping presents, and rehearsing for the Christmas solo for the Christmas service at the church. Being a perfectionist, Carol over rehearsed for the solo and lost her voice through vocal strain/laryngitis. Ouch!
Carol sees all that she has to do, but has no power to do it. She can neither speak nor work. All she can do is rest and wait. She has lost control over her near future, she cannot protect herself whatever awaits her in the days to come. She is distraught. She has no backup plan.  A backup plan is not what she needs. Grace is. Grace is what we all need.
We need grace that comes from outside of ourselves, outside of our desires, and outside of our ability to fix things.  Supernatural grace is always what we need.  Grace can often come through resting, waiting, and focusing on the miracle of Christmas — focusing less on us and more on being present in the moment. Teach us, Oh Lord, how to wait.
Cindy is the youngest child. In contrast to her siblings, all she wanted for Christmas was to hear her Mom’s voice. Cindy made a deal with Santa to surrender all of her potential gifts in exchange for her mom’s song. In her mind Santa had the solution. The older children felt the tension of waiting and decided to cancel the Christmas plans. Alice (also my mother’s name, by the way) gave them insight into the harm that canceling would bring to the family.
Perhaps you can see the parallels between this show and the Gospel of Grace through Jesus Christ our Lord?  We tend to hold on to our strategies of control and self-protection when He calls us to rest from our labor. For many of us, the notion of resting and waiting is tedious. It’s unsettling. It’s ridiculous and stressful. It’s just not working. Even while we wait, we often work with equally powerless people to try solve issues that are out of our control.  In spite of us and because of grace, Christ’s restoration comes for His glory alone.
Carol woke up on Christmas morning humming her song to the Lord without realizing that her need was met. Grace sneaks up on us like that.
O Come all ye faithful
Joyful and triumphant,
O come ye, O come ye to Bethlehem.
Come and behold Him,
Born the King of Angels;
O come, let us adore Him,
O come, let us adore Him,
O come, let us adore Him,
Christ the Lord.
The Voice of Christmas I hear is God reminding us to rest from our labor. May He guide us to ignore the  incessant calls to  “do more”, “try harder”, “put some effort into it”, “please everyone”, “buy more”, “decorate more”, and “make sure everyone has a good Christmas.”
This year, the NLR branch of the Valley Bunch is going to spend more time adoring Him than adorning each other. He is Christ the Lord. He is the Miracle of Christmas.
Today’s story is by Anthony Valley, and here’s Carol Brady singing “O Come All Ye Faithful.”

Stacey ValleyAnthony Valley has been at Fellowship North for a few years, and would say this loving band of believers has enriched his life. He’s experienced the love of Christ and the church by the authenticity of genuine relationships, the freedom of transparency, and the commitment to triumph over tragedy. He met his wife Stacey here and they are the parents of four wonderful girls.
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