It is almost December 1st. It's officially okay to listen to Christmas music, though I have been listening to it constantly for over 3 weeks now.
A friend reminded me this week of a great collection of Christmas songs. In fact, I would say that they are the standard and the foundation for my Christmas music collection.
When the songs first came out they were free for the taking. Now, you can go to the link and buy all 42 songs for 12 bucks. That's a great deal! Almost as cheap as stealing them, but with less guilt and more yuletide.
Anyways, of all of the songs included, my favorite is Sufjan's version of "Holy, holy, holy". The fact is that most people would not consider it to be a Christmas song at all. My response to this is that any song can be a Christmas song if it's got the kind of falalalala that comes with Christmas songs.
I am a big fan of The Trinity; Father, Son, and Spirit in one. Most Christmas songs focus on the Jesus part of the trinity, but what is so beautiful about Christmas is that it came about in cooperative fashion.
3 in 1 usually leads to people talking about the components of an egg or the different states that water can form. These are curious metaphors and, to me, are cute at best. At their worst, they attempt to label and leash the mysterious like a puppy.
I prefer to ignore these explanations and simply try to sit in the wonder and beauty of it. It's comforting to know that even though I am small, there is something much bigger out there and, in fact, that big, mysterious thing out there that I can wonder at loves me.
Jesus is the one that we can get a glimpse of this love. I am guessing that this is why we sing all of the songs about him at Christmas. It's really great to look at his birth as the beginning of something. It's the beginning of the new creation. The beginning of the new way of living. To steal another quote:
"In Jesus, the gospel tells us, a fundamental break has been made in the human situation, in view of which scepticism, vacillation, indifference, uncertainty, fear, hopelessness and joylessness have all been taken care of, set aside as things which do not match up to the new situation in which the whole creation has been placed." - John Webster
It was a new day. It became a new age. The age of trading sorrows. Hope came to us, and people didn't even know it, many still do not know it. The secret is still very hush, hush even after all of these years; the situation that we all find ourselves in has been shifted to a hopeful one.
"There is a sign at the sight of thee; merciful and mighty."
It is through the Christmas revelation that we have a faint idea of what this lyric means. Merciful and mighty aren't typically traits that go together. It's like that verse about the lion and the lamb hanging out by the river together; it's beautiful but how does it work?
"Though the eye of sinful man, thy glory may not see."
I'm reminded of that scene in "Field of Dreams" where the sceptical fellow looks up at the seemingly empty baseball diamond and says, "When did all of these ball players get here?" The new situation we are in is something that is not thrust upon us. We are allowed to ignore it and wallow in the old ways; the fear, the loneliness, the hopelessness. Even though I believe in the new creation I still find myself stuck in that fearful state a lot of the time. Or I forget about the Trinity and fill up my life with emptiness. I am thankful that Christmas is a constant reminder that there is good and it is really, very, honestly good like we hope it would be.
Christmas is a time to be together with loved ones and to forgive old debts and to celebrate jubilee. At least, that's the way I see it. I am thankful for the Blessed Trinity and it's desire to share the joy of their communion with us. I am thankful for the reminder of Christmas.