This year, because there have been so many restrictions surrounding our Christmas celebrations, I have taken to making an extensive Christmas song list and playing it as I have been travelling in the car and working on repairing bikes. I have so enjoyed many of these older carols and songs. I have understood in a fresh way how powerful the words of many of the carols really are. As well as the old familiar ones many of the new song writers and musicians have penned new songs which capture the essence of the story of God’s gift to mankind, using some delightful contemporary tunes. I have been playing them over and over again.
Possibly one of my favourite carols is ‘O little town of Bethlehem’ because it has the lines ‘O holy child of Bethlehem descend to us we pray, cast out our sin and enter in be born in us today. We hear the Christmas angels the great glad tidings tell. O come to us abide with us Our Lord Emmanuel’. This is the gospel message in a nutshell – a challenge to receive Jesus, for him to be with us, and to transform our lives. We are never alone once we receive him. In fact, Emmanuel, the name used in many carols, means God with us.
Yesterday we finished our carol service by going outside to sing a few carols with the candles lit and glowing on our newly made Christingles. We wanted those in the houses surrounding the school to hear some of those powerful words and familiar tunes. I wasn’t aware of it at the time, but Ola noticed a number of people coming to their front doors to listen for a few minutes. The message of the good news is still getting out.
We may be severely restricted with our celebrations this Christmas, but we can still have something of these essentials in place. Giving thanks to God for sending his unspeakable gift and singing along to those wonderful Christmas songs, can still be at the centre of those celebrations. As you enjoy your Christmas meal this week, (for me that’s turkey and all its trimmings), we can appreciate the fact that we are not alone. The Saviour of the world is with us. As well this, we can try to slow down and reflect a little on the amazing story of the incarnation. Have a really good Christmas.