Monday, December 24, 2007

A Christmas Carol

"What can I give Him,
Poor as I am?
If I were a shepherd
I would bring a lamb,
If I were a wise man
I would do my part,--
Yet what I can I give Him
Give my heart."
--Christina Rossetti from A Christmas Carol, 1871

In college, a friend challenged me to stop wasting my talents. He was referring to the fact that I played the flute but didn't serve the Lord in our church's worship with it. Our fellowship at the time had one guitar and a piano for leading our worship songs and hymns. I was horribly out of practice, and I knew that nothing was better than something if it didn't sound good. So, I started to play my flute for part of my quiet times. For Christmas, I was asked to play something for special music. I decided to play what I was doing for my quiet times already. A collage of hymns, starting out with "O Come Emmanuel", with "Sacred Head, Now Wounded" and finally, "Jesus Christ is Risen Today".
People don't usually sing Easter hymns for Christmas. I could never see why. To contemplate the beginning, you need to also consider the whole picture. And the best Christmas carols are the ones that feature the truth about why Jesus came to be with us. Unfortunately, in our culture and many others, things just got stuck at the manger. All people see is an ordinary baby and unusual characters surrounding him besides his parents (what a weird baby shower-shepherds, animals and wise guys).
What each nativity scene should include is a warning sticker that reads: "Caution: What You Are Seeing Here Is More Amazing Than (1)An Atomic Bomb, (2)Traveling At Lightspeed, And (3)Aliens Visiting Us From Outerspace All Added Together." The whole idea of Someone who created me--designed me and all my days from beginning to end--put His own holy deity into flesh. Not just for kicks, or for a nice hello, how are you all doing. But to suffer and die because we need Someone to do it for us. We are really helpless down here on this planet and we need to be saved. We can't figure out God for ourselves. We need His Son to tell us what we are not getting.
Thank God He came.

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