They’re Playing Our Songs . . . Are We Listening?
by Derrick G. Jeter
On Christmas day the carols play
Of a Baby born to save the forlorn.
But lost is the reason in the bustle of the season,
When thoughts turn away to what we’ll pay.
The poem may be silly, but it’s true. When radios become abuzz with Christmas songs—”our songs”—most hear them as the announcement for shoppers to start their engines. We wonder, How could all these people hear the carols in their cars as they drive to the malls and as they stroll through the stores and not understand that Christ came to save them from their sins?
But should we really be surprised that the masses in the malls miss the message of Christmas, in spite of the music? The Scripture is clear: “The god of this world has blinded the minds of the unbelieving” (2 Corinthians 4:4)—and has deafened their ears.
The question of how the message of Christ’s birth, as proclaimed in the carols, is lost in the Christmas hustle is not for those who have never knelt and gazed deeply into the manger to see the shadow of the cross darken the face of God. The question is for those who have. How is it that we hear the glorious strains broadcasting the Savior’s nativity as only a call to shop, cook, and decorate, when they are meant as a call to worship and reflect on the mystery of the incarnation—God becoming Man? If we expect those who push past us in the mad rush to finish their shopping to really listen to the carols, perhaps we should unplug our spiritual ears and listen anew. How can we do that? Here are a couple of ideas.
First, confess your own Martha-like tendencies—your busyness with shopping, planning Christmas parties, and decorating—that cause you to miss the very reason for the celebration, the coming of Immanuel (Luke 10:40-42).
Second, commit to slow down and refocus your mind, emotions, and soul on Christ—”Step out of the traffic! Take a long, loving look at me, your High God” (Psalm 46:10 MSG). One way to do this—before you tear into presents—is to gather your family around the fireplace on Christmas Eve or Christmas Day to read the Christmas story, sing carols, and thank God for the greatest gift of all—Jesus.
And if you want to help your family and friends to really hear these songs, ask the Lord to give you an opportunity to simply explain to them the reason why God became Man (Colossians 4:3-4). Such an explanation just might lead to the best present they’ll ever receive and give them more than a reason to listen.
It will give them a reason to sing.