I wanted to write something about Christmas carols. In fact, what I wanted to do was find some interesting facts about any of the Christmas carols we may still be singing today that would have been around for quite a while. What I found was a plethora of information that I didn’t even know existed, from the tradition of Christmas carols being sung in pubs, to being sung in church, to being played in space on the Gemini 6 flight in 1965. I found that Jingle Bells was originally meant to be sung on Thanksgiving and that people don’t understand why Charles Wesley originally wrote “Hark how all the welkin rings.” I found out that the history of O Holy Night is so long that I got lost in reading it and gave up.
So, why, you might ask, am I telling you all of this? Maybe because in the midst of the chaos leading up to Christmas, I found humor in my feeble attempt to enlighten everyone about just one Christmas carol. This time of year is so busy. We forget sometimes to take the time to laugh and not be so serious. We forget sometimes to take the time to breathe. We forget sometimes to remember just what the season is about.
Advent is not about carols, parties, gifts or movies. Advent is not about being overbooked, stressed out, and tired. Advent is about preparing and waiting for our celebration, once again, of the birth of Jesus Christ. Christmas and Advent are not about you and me, they are about the gift that came to the entire world for all of eternity in the form of a baby, meek and mild. Christmas and Advent are about remembering that God loves us so much that we were given God’s own son, Jesus Christ, for the forgiveness of all our sins. Christmas and Advent are about putting ourselves aside to focus on the gift of grace from God. That gift of grace did not come wrapped up in a pretty package with bows underneath a decorated tree. That gift of grace arrived in a messy way, the birth of a child. That gift was wrapped in all that Mary and Joseph had to use, was surrounded by the animals, and was placed in an animal feed trough that was filled with hay.
This year during Advent, instead of focusing on the hustle and bustle that the world says we should be a part of, may we focus on the calm and faithful gift of the Christ Child from God.
Happy Advent and Merry Christmas!
Grace and Peace… Pastor Angie