Music and Advent

I don’t know when I first sang; I only know that singing fills me with joy. And harmonies, especially in the tight chords, give me chills. Music truly communicates in ways that touch the soul. Part of the Christmas concert for the Garrett County Choral Society will include the 1991 song, “Mary, Did You Know?” The deity of Christ leaps from the words of this song, revealing acts in the baby’s future that Mary, the teenage girl chosen to bear the Christ child, could never have imagined. Yes, He would one day “walk on water, save our sons and daughters, give sight to the blind, calm a storm with His hand.” This Jesus would gain a huge following for the miracles He performed. However, the lyrics then make a play on words that some find offensive. “This  Child that you delivered will soon deliver you.” Now Jesus steps out! Others may have startled the world with slight of hand miracles, but Jesus’ claims far exceed any miracle worker.”When you kiss your little baby you have kissed the face of God,” and “The sleeping child you’re holding is the Great ‘I Am!'” I want the truth of these words to seep into every fiber of my being. Why? Because the truth conveyed changes lives from the inside out. Not just a behavioral change, but a heart change that destroys favored idols in me and allows me to bring glory to God.

I’ve also listened to Michael Card’s The Promise today and asked for the Lord to allow me a deeper vision of Christ this Advent season. “As a sign to you, the one born today will be wrapped in rags, asleep on the hay,” sings Card. The lowly shepherds got a spectacular birth announcement and sought this babe, but the vast majority in the world slept on that night. In so many ways, our world, desperate to be relevant, universal and non-judgmental, sleeps also. But we who call Him Lord also can miss the mystery of the incarnation. We decoraate, buy, feast, and scurry through Advent, worried that we will not get it all done. Somewhere, everywhere in the bustling activity, we miss the time to prepare ourselves for the amazement of God with us, Immanuel. “If God is with us, who could stand against us?” “There is no height nor depth that can ever separate us from the love of Christ.” If that’s Christmas ho-hum, I haven’t paused to look afresh at marvelous news of Chritmas.

Then tonight a group of women from church gathered here to watch the DVD of Paige Benton Brown talking about what we must tell the next generation. Paige pleads with her listeners to really see all that Christ is– His power, majesty, and love for us as His called children. I don’t need a new idea for a gift, another recipe to dazzle the family, a two-week diet to shed pounds before the feasting begins, or a change in my circumstances. In Jesus, Immanuel, I have everything; without Him, I have nothing. May the star’s light of Christmas stop me right over that humble stable so I can fasten my eyes upon the promise named Jesus. I want to hear and sing the music of Christmas with a deeper view of the Child of Promise. May this Advent give us all the time to look at the sleeping baby who is the Son of God.

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