teach me your way, Lord, that I may rely on your faithfulness; give me an undivided heart, that I may fear your name... psalm 86:11

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

lessons from a christmas concert...

Last night I went to a Christmas concert. Actually, it was a regular concert in this awesomely decorated warehouse by a band that I hadn’t heard in years. This band has a passion for writing/singing songs about their own experiences of how Jesus has shaped their lives, and they mixed in Christmas songs too. They didn’t do this just because it’s the expected thing to do this time of year… they did it because the lyrics of some of the carols we sing every December are so beautifully profound in the way they describe the paradox of divinity meeting humanity. And I was so thankful for last night because in the rush and busyness of this past week, I was craving time to just pause and be and dwell. As the band passionately sang these carols, not as Christmas jingles, but as heartfelt praises to their Savior… I was moved. The lyrics came to life in a different way than usual.

There’s something universal about carols- no matter what your background or faith stance, you probably know at least some of the Christmas classics. Seeing crowds of people singing together in unison about Jesus is one of my favorite things about Christmas. But it got me thinking last night… if people realize what they are singing? If they are allowing themselves to take in the weight of the words or if they are just repeating them by rote?

Do they know that “His law is love and His gospel is peace”? Have they experienced it for themselves?

Do they know that their “hopes and fears of all the years” are seen and understood?

Do they know that “in this world of sin, where meek souls will receive Him still, the dear Christ enters in,”… that Jesus is there, ready for us to acknowledge His presence and invite Him into our lives?

This question isn’t just for Christmas songs either… I started thinking last night about how many times we sing ANY song about Jesus, but allow there to be a disconnect between what are mouths are voicing and what our minds are thinking and hearts feeling. We allow this musical element of worship to become mindless repetition sometimes.

It brings to mind the warning in Ecclesiastes to “Guard your steps when you go to the house of God. Go near to listen rather than to offer the sacrifice of fools, who do not know that they do wrong. Do not be quick with your mouth; do not be hasty in your heart to utter anything before God. God is in heaven and you are on earth, so let your words be few.” Are we paying attention to who we’re singing these songs to, for the promises and proclamations we declare? Are we listening for His truth amongst the lyrics or are we just babbling along in auto-pilot?

I don’t write this as a guilt trip by any means… but rather as an encouragement, because here’s what I’ve come to learn- the times when I am conscious of what I speak (or sing) before the Lord are the times when I am most blessed by His presence and His promises. The more aware I am of engaging with God, the more He pours His love, grace, and truth into my life.

As we enjoy the final days of Advent and prepare ourselves for Christmas, I pray this for anyone who might stumble across this little blog… that within the songs and traditions, you would be aware of your Savior, and that you would be aware of His presence in your life.

1 comment:

  1. This sounds like a beautiful awakening, Denise. Isn't it amazing how we get those flashes of realization? I'll be singing with all my heart the carols God places on my lips after reading this. Merry Christmas to you.