The Songs of Christmas: Day 4
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I love it when the Christmas music begins to play.
On the first Sunday of advent, when wreaths appear on the church doors and candles in the sanctuary, the season for anticipating Jesus has arrived.
My heart swells with the singing of the first Christmas hymn.
I have been singing these songs for so long that I am surprised by how the words can jump from the screen into my consciousness as if for the first time.
So bring him incense, gold, and myrrh,
Come, peasant, king, to own him.
The King of kings salvation brings,
Let loving hearts enthrone him.
I sang these words (from What Child Is This?) twenty years ago, my first Christmas as a wife, married almost twelve months. We did not have the money or the time off of work to go home that year, and we were barely getting by in a tiny one-bedroom apartment north of Chicago. When I sang the line, Come, peasant, king, to own him, I remember grabbing onto the concept that Jesus is for everyone, for all walks of life and for all seasons. Newly married or growing old together. Dirt poor or filthy rich, we all need Jesus.
I wrote those words on a big sheet of paper and hung it on my kitchen wall. For the whole season, I celebrated my ability to come before the King of kings no matter my station in life.
Again, just three years ago, I had the same experience with a line in another Christmas song. This time it was Hark, The Herald Angels Sing, a song I have sung over and over again since before I could read.
Mild he lays his glory by,
Born that man no more may die,
Born to raise us from the earth,
Born to give us second birth.
The death of my grandmother that December ripened my heart for the words Born that man no more may die. Through tears I sang of a Savior that will one day raise us from the earth. I could picture a time when He would come and make all things right again, and I loved singing that he was born to do just that: to give us second birth.
These days, when I sing those lines in those two songs, I remember those two seasons. And God’s faithfulness to me in the days those words found me.
And this is part of why I return again and again to church. To sing the songs. To be pulled into Christmas when a phrase I have sung (or a Scripture I have read) becomes fresh to me in this time and place.
In bright red lettering on my chalkboard today I have written,
O Holy Night
The stars are brightly shining.
It is the night
Of our dear Savior’s birth.
I have a lot of night sky in December to remind me of this holy night long ago.
(The sun sets at 3:28pm today in Scotland.)
In the darkness, I am waiting for what my dear Savior will show me this year.
Today’s story is by Alison Chino. We’ve linked to a beautiful version of one of her favorite hymns below.
Alison Chino calls Fellowship North home but she currently lives in Scotland with her family where she is scribbles in notebooks and takes long walks. You can find more of her musings on her blog: Chino House.