Songs of Joy to Come
Lunchtime conversations at RTB run the gamut from comics to Christian doctrine to the qualities of a good churro. Recently, we shared what our favorite Christmas carol is. Digital Outreach Director Phil likes “Baby It’s Cold Outside,” even if its lyrics are a bit creepy. Copyeditor Elissa admits N Sync’s “Merry Christmas, Happy Holidays” is her favorite because it brings back wonderful childhood memories. And blogging cohort Maureen likes “Hark! The Herald Angels Sing.” In particular, she loves the third verse, which declares that Christ was “born to raise the sons of earth.”
My favorites are “O Holy Night” and “Someday at Christmas.” The latter doesn’t mention the first Christmas specifically, yet both songs hint at the joyful hope we have in Christ. Sometimes our world seems weary, especially now as our nation mourns the horrific killings in Connecticut. And yet even in weariness we can find a thrill of hope, “for yonder breaks a new and glorious morn.”
Christ’s birth, death, and resurrection provide a way for those who put their faith in Him to step into a new world, one where “hate will be gone and love will prevail.”
The end of the (present) world and beginning of the new may not come December 21, but it will come. Until then, the world (weary or otherwise) can rejoice and, as Jeff Zweerink puts it, “live each day fully engaged in fulfilling His stated purposes for humanity so that whenever He comes for us, individually or collectively, we’ll hear Him say, ‘Well done, good and faithful servant.’”
God’s Regard for the Lowly
Of the myriad thoughts that went through Mary’s head after she agreed to give birth to the Messiah, I’ll bet the foremost went something like, “Of all the women in all the towns in all the world, why did God choose me?”
In her song of praise Mary declares that the Mighty God “has been mindful of the humble state of his servant.” She thanks God for the favor he has bestowed upon her, a nobody from an obscure village, engaged to a carpenter.
I love the way the Christmas “cast” exemplifies God’s mindfulness of lowly, marginalized, or even just everyday people. Zechariah and Elizabeth (the parents of John the Baptist) were a couple dealing with the cultural embarrassment of childlessness and Anna the prophetess was an elderly woman who had been widowed just seven years into her marriage. The shepherds were dirty and living on the outskirts of society, while the magi, though wealthy and educated, were foreigners.
Christmas starts the journey toward Easter and expresses God’s concern for the overarching human plight of sin. Yet the Nativity story also demonstrates the almighty Creator’s interest in individual people. He knows every detail of our lives, including the hurt and the joy we’ve experienced. He knows where and when we struggle, whether with sin or in difficult circumstances.
And the message He sent through the Son’s birth is that He is willing and able to lift us up above trials and tribulations, to reward patience and obedience, to comfort and acknowledge us when we are lonely, and to welcome us from afar into His family.
Now that’s something to celebrate. As Kenneth Samples puts it, “The Advent season calls us all to remember when Christ first appeared on Earth and to rejoice. As my favorite Christmas carol extols, ‘Joy to the world, the Lord is come!’”
Sandra and Maureen and everyone at RTB wish you and yours a very merry Christmas and a happy New Year. Take Two will return to blogging in January 2013.
For more Christmas thoughts from Take Two, see:
Subjects: Historical Theology, Incarnation