O Holy Night

Wow, it seems like Christmas really came quickly this year! Maybe that’s because radio stations around here started playing holiday music 24/7 about a week and a half before Thanksgiving. It got me thinking a lot about Christmas music, and I’ve been asking people what their favorites are.

I have three: “O Come, O Come Emmanuel”, “O Holy Night”, and “Little Drummer Boy”.

“O Come O Come Emmanuel” is a haunting song that captures my longing for deliverance. When I sing this song I remember that I need God’s help. I cry out for Him today just as the children of Israel cried out for the Messiah thousands of years ago. Mourning is a part of life, but this carol calls me to rejoice because at last Emmanuel (God with us) has come. He has not forsaken me nor left me alone; instead, He came to save.

Listen to this beautiful version by BarlowGirl:  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zzW_PmW-LzE

“O Holy Night” gives a wonderful revelation in the first verse:

Till He appeared, and the soul felt its worth

          The thrill of hope, the weary world rejoices…

We were worth the King of Glory coming down to earth. This song reminds me that I am loved beyond measure and that I now have a thrilling hope: hope that I will be transformed by the Savior, hope of a world one day remade, hope of eternal fellowship with God. As it soars into that chorus I get chills every time. Fall on your knees… in a moment of pure worship.

Enjoy Mariah Carey’s iconic version here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BEJmP8T07JU

“Little Drummer Boy” is all about our response to the coming Lord. It really gets me in the 2nd and 3rd verse (pa rum pum pum pums removed for time’s sake):

Little baby… I am a poor boy too… I have no gift to bring… that’s fit to give a king… shall I play for you… on my drum

          I played my drum for Him… I played my best for him… then he smiled at me…

I love these words because they tell me I can come to the Lord just as I am. It comforts me to know that I don’t have to pull myself together or come up with something amazing to be with God. I can simply give Him the best of what I have. He honors that with a smile.

Pentatonix has a sweet version you must check out: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qJ_MGWio-vc

My need for God to be with me, my worshipful acknowledgement of what His coming means, my offering to the King: that’s what these songs represent for me.

I’d love to know what your favorite Christmas songs are and why, so leave a comment!

Merry Christmas!

Isaiah 9:6-7

My Favorite Holiday

Thanksgiving is my favorite holiday. It has the good food and quality family time of Christmas without the stress. I know that for some, the month of December is all candy canes and laughter, but I tend to put a lot of pressure on myself at Christmas. How much money should I spend? What’s the right gift to buy? When do I decorate? When do I take down the decorations? How can I make what’s become a commercial holiday meaningful for me and my loved ones? I create these unrealistic expectations,and inevitably I get let down at some point.

Oh, but Thanksgiving… I have nothing negative to say. When I think of Thanksgiving, I remember…

…that year I wasn’t able to eat much of the actual Thanksgiving meal because I snuck and ate three rolls before dinner was served.

…learning how to make cornbread dressing from my cousin Kenny. This is my favorite Thanksgiving food, and I feel sorry for those who only eat that breadcrumb stuff. A resounding boo to Stovetop Stuffing! Boo, I say!

…gravy. Watching my mom make giblet gravy, slowly stirring in flour. Me, later, pouring gravy over everything. Gravy is my second favorite Thanksgiving food.

…waiting in agonizing anticipation for my uncle to finish the longest Thanksgiving prayer ever. It was really a sermon. Uncle Bill, just say amen so I can eat already!

…playing bridge with my grandmother and others. What a game. It makes the other card games look a little pitiful.

…lots of family, extended family, and friends catching up, talking loud, and eating until short of breath, all while football games play on a big screen TV.

I haven’t gotten to attend a big family thanksgiving in a while. My husband’s in retail and works on Black Friday, and it’s getting more and more expensive to travel. In the meantime, I have my memories, and I try to remember to be grateful: for my family, that we talk and are still close though so many miles lay between us; for my friends; for my husband; for a job I love. Most of all, I feel overwhelming gratitude towards God, from whom all these good gifts flow.

Although the corporate machine continues to encroach on my beloved Thanksgiving day (Kmart opens at 6am- on Thursday), I’m going to relax, eat some great food with my hubby, and remember all I have to be thankful for. No shopping. Just gravy.

Psalm 106:1