What's your favorite Christmas song? Do you like the 'tinsel' songs like, "Winter Wonderland", or do you like the spiritual ones, like "Silent Night"? Or maybe you like the completely silly ones like, "Grandma Got Run Over by a Riendeer"? One year I told my kids (ages 4 to 14 at the time) that one was my favorite and they said, "Mom, that's not even a nice song!" LOL What can I say? Most Christmas songs have great meaning to me (ok, except the Grandma one), so I can't usually pick just one. But lately, I've settled on one I always like to sing at Christmastime. My kids would say it's not really a Christmas song, but...well, let me explain.
Several years ago (wow, it really has been several years, now), I was blessed to be asked to be part of an amazing presentation our local church was giving of a musical called "Savior of the World". You can usually find the presentation being done in Salt Lake City every year around Christmas time, but many of the smaller, local congregations have given the presentation as well, and that is what we were doing. I was thrilled...mostly because it was a musical presentation and I was asked to be the musical director (um, did I mention I love music?). I was looking forward to learning new music specifically about Christ (yep, I was secretly hoping to find a new Christmas song). And the music is AMAZING! Every song is scripturally based, and each began to take on a deeper meaning to me as we rehearsed.
As a (then) single woman, my heart's desire was to have an eternal sweetheart, I could relate to the first song, sung by Elizabeth and Zacharias, "I"ll give God forever....give my plans, and give my dreams"...the song was about the patience they struggled to cultivate while they practiced their faith that God would deliver on his promise that Elizabeth would bear a child, but each of us can relate to having a desire of our hearts and learning to rely on God for the answer, and it was especially poignant for me. Elizabeth's own prayer was answered in a most thrilling way. I, too, wanted to "...Give God forever and then give one day more." It's a beautiful song, it still means a great deal to me, but it doesn't quite fit the bill as a new Christmas song.
Then we move to the scene of Mary and Joseph discussing the her miraculous pregnancy...the young man playing Joseph was my own son, and Mary, a beautiful young woman who later became his wife (happy, happy, joy, joy!). Their duet is beautiful, they sing, "O Lord, My God, Come to me this day, let me see, help me know....teach me to hear they voice". I could relate to the struggle Mary and Joseph must have as they worked together to listen and obey God's voice while those around them might not have been supportive. But Mary and Joseph persevered, and with joy, they sang "...I will Praise thy Holy Name". I want to sing that, too! The song is everything a Christmas song should be, but even with my loved ones singing it, it is still not my favorite.
Rehearsals for such a production begin many months before the actual performance. Many things happen in our 'real' lives during those many months, and my life was no exception. One evening, just before a final rehearsal began, I got a call that another of my sons was in the Emergency Room. I went to him. It was scary. Really scary...he was in pain. I cried for his pain. Eventually he fell asleep. I began to relax and while I pondered, I heard and felt the music being sung that night at rehearsal, "Come, Lord Jesus to the wounded. Broken heart and bended knee, Worthy Lamb, thy love unbounded, bid our souls to rest in thee." Peace filled my soul as I was reminded of the most wonderful sacrifice, the redemption offered to everyone. At a time when my heart was frightened, I found incredible peace (yes, even Joy) in the testimony that Christ has and will again, "Come in glory to the earth"....but...that was not a Christmas song.
The story continues...in the presentation, we see the stone rolled away from the tomb and witness many of those who believe Christ is resurrected and those who still have doubts. There are times when each of us have doubts about life We practice faith in Christ, but sometimes we have unbelief. Sometimes. The words of Thomas are for all of us, "I searched with my eyes, but I was blind. By His mercy, eyes of faith I find. Lord, what I asked a-fearing Thou answered with they love. O Lord, My God, I will believe." This is for me: I WILL believe. I DO believe. And I feel renewed, in Christ and I am overjoyed!! (But...this is not the Christmas song, either).
I am like all of those who first saw the Savior on Earth. I am like the Shepherds who ran with Joy to see the humble Baby in a manger and wondered what He would do for me. I am like those who stood at the empty tomb and believe that He lived and yes, I also am like Thomas, who had some doubts. I am sometimes like those who walked with him on the road to Emmaus and didn't realize He was walking beside me. But most often, I am like Mary who came looking in the wrong place for the Risen Lord and instead found him right beside her calling her name- He knows me! And then, in the deepest feelings of my heart, I KNOW: "Jesus, Once of humble birth, now in Glory comes to earth. Once he suffered grief and pain, now he comes to rule and reign. Come, Lord Jesus, Come!" (and that is my newest favorite Christmas song).