It’s that time of year of incessant Christmas music. I can handle hearing certain songs once or twice a season. Some, I can live the rest of my life without ever hearing again (ahem Mariah and WHAM). There is one, that I could listen to over and over. My absolute favorite song and I am extremely picky about how it is performed.
O Holy Night by Josh Groban
No offense to anyone else who has performed this classic Christmas hymn over the years, but since hearing Josh’s rendition years ago, its the only one that sends chills down my spine and tears down my cheeks.
Other than the majestic notes, its the lyrics that fully bring me into the Christmas season.
“O Holy Night, the stars are brightly shining, it is the night of our dear Savior’s birth”
I immediately think of the shepherds. The dirty, smelly, low class shepherds who were ostracized by society. Why? Why would God’s angels sing in all of their glory to shepherds in their filth and zero social standing? They didn’t know it was to be the night of the Christ child’s birth. They weren’t looking for angels or listening for singing. The same reason all of King David’s older brothers were overlooked to be the anointed King of Israel.
God chooses the overlooked, because perhaps, they are the only ones looking up.
It is the job of the shepherd to be quiet, to be still. They must be actively watching and listening for threats to their flock. In a field in the middle east, their view wasn’t blocked by buildings and trees, nor were their ears plagued with sounds of the city. Its as if they lived their lives waiting for the need to arise in order to defend their flock. Watching the skies for weather patterns or strange occurrences that might cause a disruption to the animals.
So it is, especially during this season, I must choose to actively watch and listen. This season has become the loudest, busiest, most distracting of the entire year. Activity is everywhere. But in the midst of the busy, I must be intentional about being still or I may miss the gift of this Holy Night. I have to choose not get caught up in the chaos. I want to be the one who is still and quiet, looking up for God’s glory. Otherwise, this season will pass, with me feeling exhausted from the stress I placed on myself.
“Long lay the world in sin and error pining till He appeared and the soul felt its worth. A thrill of hope, a weary world rejoices. For yonder breaks a new and glorious morn.”
I want to be in a state of peace each Christmas where my soul can feel its worth through the birth of a child. I need the constant thrill of hope and rejoicing in this weary world. All of the busyness of the season dampens the thrill and hinders rejoicing unless I actively look up.
Our family chooses not to participate in many of the traditional Christmas festivities. I want to be home, cooking yummy desserts with my kids, reading our favorite Christmas stories, being still. Sometimes the busy can’t be avoided. Schools have Christmas programs, their clubs have parties and endless gift exchanges, church has youth group festivities, yet we can always return to stillness, waiting, watching, anticipating, the thrill of hope in this season.
“Fall on your knees. Hear the angels voices”
Return to the stance of the shepherds. The most unworthy. The most unloved. The most overlooked.
The overlooked look up, to discover the holiest of nights.
I wish you a thrill of hope in this weary world. Merry Christmas.