I was living in the middle of another December. Behind the wheel of my minivan, Christmas to-do’s were on the list but my mind was distracted with brooding introverted things: life meaning, love longing and tired regret.
I was stuck somewhere between cloudy mood and daily task when the second verse to an old familiar Christmas hymn made its way up from the background.
How silently, how silently, the wondrous gift is given!
So God imparts to human hearts the blessings of His heaven.
No ear may hear His coming, but in this world of sin,
Where meek souls will receive Him still,
The dear Christ enters in.
It was one of those rare moments when the veil is lifted and you get to see with eternal eyes. Alone in the car, the long ago reality of a little town, a God baby, a teenaged Mary and a genuine King became clear as never before. In that moment, long ago became right now.
Somehow He quietly slipped into humanity that night, born to die so I can have life. Not just life forever later, but life on this real day, in my car in the middle of my emotional rut. There is a choice of death or life, conflict or peace, despair or hope. Because if his birth isn’t significant for me right now, then it isn’t significant at all.
As I continued to drive, it began to seem as though she was singing about me and not a little town called Bethlehem. Among the sometimes dark streets of my soul, He shines His everlasting light. He chooses to be born in me so that life and peace are made available to me in limitless supply.
What Christmas song speaks to you?Leave a Comment
Kristen - Moms Sharpening Moms says
“O Holy Night” is my favorite, especially:
“The thrill of hope, the weary world rejoices.
For yonder breaks, a new and glorious morn.”
How often I have needed a fresh start, a “new and glorious morn” in my weariness!
I am so thankful for Jesus!
Merry Christmas, Emily!
deb @talk at the table says
You have such a gift , Emily.
To send words often heard to us in such poetry.
That words become songs in our hearts.
My top three faves: “Oh Holy Night” takes me straight to that night in Bethlehem and “Silent Night” is one that brings me to my knees every time. The last one, “Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas” has always been a fave, too. Sara Groves’ version is wonderful.
Thanks for a great post – I had a similar experience recently so reading your thoughts made me feel normal. Merry Christmas!
Gina @ The Shabby Chic Cottage says
I love, love, LOVE “Hark the Herald Angels Sing.” There’s something so soothing about the idea of celebrating such a wonderful event.
Merry Christmas, Emily!
Lovely, lovely. And right and true.
Isn’t it funny how words that are so familiar to us become mundane? As if, after all, the idea of the Lord of the Universe entering the world as the infant son of a peasant woman, who had to give birth to him in a stable and lay him down in a feeding trough were just a everyday though. Just like that Lord dying for me is ho-hum.
What are we thinking? Are our minds really THAT crowded? Thank you for the reminder to be still and pay attention.
Oh, and the song I love:
Angels from the realms of glory
Wing your flight o’er all the earth;
You who sang Creation’s story
Now proclaim Messiah’s birth:
Come and worship, come and worship
Worship Christ the newborn King!
I appreciate you so much, Emily!
My favorite Christmas song has always been “What Child is This.” (I actually walked down the aisle to it at my wedding). This song never fails to bring me to tears. It’s such a reminder of the true reason for the season. It’s so easy to get caught up in the rush of life, and forget how profound Christmas really is. Thank you for your thoughts!
You are so right, thanks for the reminder that “if his birth isn’t significant for me right now, then it isn’t significant at all.”
I love you, Emily.
Christmas song? Silent Night. I just learned that the actual factual Saint Nicholas was the priest presiding over the first service that ear heard Silent Night.
I need quiet, rest right now, and so in the same way, Silent Night isn’t only about Jesus being nestled into his mother and her awe over him. It’s also about my resting with the Father. I’m so thankful that Jesus made the way for my peace.
The song that has really been speaking to me this year is Bethlehem Calls by Newsong
To the great and the small
It’s Christmas won’t you come
The heart of God says come
To the broken and wounded ones
No matter how far you’ve run
His mercy calls out to come
Christ is the babe
Who has come to save us all”
When I hear “For Unto Us a Child Is Born,” it just brings me to my knees. The mighty names of Jesus – what a precious gift we have been given.
Beautifully written Emily. Thank you.
our worship leader, stopped in the middle of singing the following carol last year and said, “have you listened? have you heard the words?…” we repeated it, then sang it acapella, slowly and let the message sink in. it has become my favorite.
God rest ye merry, gentlemen
Let nothing you dismay
Remember, Christ, our Saviour
Was born on Christmas day
To save us all from Satan’s power
When we were gone astray
O tidings of comfort and joy,
Comfort and joy
O tidings of comfort and joy
praying that the tidings of comfort and joy – the Truth of being rescued by the giving of the Son by the Father, and the giving of Himself by the Son on our behalf, while we were lost, will be like it must have been for the shepherds that night when the angel said, “fear not i bring you good news of great joy!…oh yes, and all the verses of this carol are just as good! 🙂
You wrote this for me, right?
Shaunie Friday says
So beautifully written Emily! It really touches me where I am this Christmas–and I loved how you saw Bethlehem personified in your own heart and welcomed His light into your moment. That is a thought I will keep close.
Christmas songs I love:
Breath of Heaven–I was pregnant with my daughter when this song came out and I just so identified with how Mary must have been feeling.
“Breath of Heaven, hold me together,
be forever near me, Breath of Heaven.
Breath of Heaven, lighten my darkness,
pour over me Your holiness, for You are holy, Breath of Heaven.”
How often I pray that prayer.
Another one I love is Joy, Joy by David Phelps. It tells the Christmas story from its beginning in Heaven:
“Angels folded their wings,
at the throne worshiping
as God whispered, ‘I love You my Son.’
Jesus took off His crown, and laying it down said, ‘Father, Thy will be done.'”
One more, Mary Did You Know?
“Mary did you know
That your baby boy
Is Heaven’s perfect Lamb?
This sleeping child you’re holding
Is the GREAT I AM.
Mary did you know?”
My soul sings! Thanks for the chance to share these!! Merry Christmas!!
o come, o come, emmanuel. and ranson captive israel. (or am i longing for his ransom?)
I was moved to tears this year by the words “…in His name all oppression will cease…” in the middle of my friend’s rendition of “O Holy Night” during church. My mind went to places in the world which are filled with oppression and strife, then I saw a clear picture of my very own neighborhood – less obvious oppression behind closed doors. One day…all oppression will cease. How can I be an agent of comfort to ease the oppression around me?
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