I love Christmas! I know, I know – lots of people say the same thing and yet it’s hard to see any evidence of joy in all the scurrying about and scrambling to find gifts. I myself am scurrying right now because we’re having an Open House party and the house is anything but ready for company. However, waiting until the last minute is my usual tactic. It’s how I roll. So if you look at it that way, I’m right on schedule.
One of my favorite things about Christmas is the special pleasure I get from knowing that even saying “Merry Christmas” is speaking aloud the name of Christ. People who all year long might never give Him a second thought still speak His name at this time of year. They may not think about what they’re saying but I hear “Christ” in it, and it gives me a little thrill to hear His name coming from some unlikely directions.
Another thing I really enjoy at Christmas is the music. It runs the gamut from traditional carols to contemporary Christian worship tunes to fun songs about Santa to silly ones about murderous reindeer. (RIP, Grandma) And you can hear these songs on the radio or your Spotify playlist being performed by everyone from Mercy Me to Melissa Etheridge. But every year the same questions start to swirl in my mind and I struggle with a way to ask them without sounding judgmental, because at heart I know we’re ALL sinners and none of us is any better than the next.
What I wonder about is this: when a secular musician sings about the new King being born, does his or her heart speed up just a little bit? Does it make something in their spirit stir? Does it affect them at all? Do they even realize what they’re singing about? Is His name just another word in the lyrics? Do they think about the gravity of God Himself coming to earth in the form of a helpless baby to save all of us from ourselves?
When CeeLo Green croons, “Mary, Did You Know?” I wonder if CeeLo himself knows.
When Weezer sings, “O Holy Night,” I wonder if they know why it was so holy.
When Barenaked Ladies performs, “God Rest Ye Merry, Gentlemen,” what are they thinking when the words “remember Christ our Saviour was born on Christmas Day” pass their lips?
(Am I the only one who thinks of these things?)
I’m certainly in no position to gauge anyone’s relationship with Christ or lack of it, although I do believe that we can know people by their fruit.
So when I see people whose fruit (at least what’s made public) consists of self-glorification or partying or a lifestyle that doesn’t reflect Christ’s presence in their lives in any way, it can be jarring to hear them singing “Silent Night” to a newborn King it seems they’ve never met.
And if I’m totally honest, there is a part of me that wants to snatch back “my” holiday from people who don’t even know Who He is and don’t seem to care about finding out. Who are all these people who think it’s okay to sing about Christ the newborn King at Christmas and record songs with bleeped out lyrics all the rest of the year?
But what takes the starch out of my self-righteousness indignation is this: there is power in the name of Jesus.
Wonder working power. And mercy. And grace. Everything we need, contained right there in the name of Christ our Lord.
The name that the Bible tells us will one day cause every knee to bow and every tongue to proclaim His Lordship. (Phil. 2:10-11)
There’s just something about that name.
And it doesn’t matter if the name is spoken by the most God-fearing man on the planet or the lowest sinner (and those could be one and the same person).
I’ve heard it said, and I believe it, that God can and will use anyone for His purposes.
Some of the people who will say His name or sing about Him this season have no idea of the power they are wielding.
But I do and one day they will too. And His name is beautiful music to my ears.
So you just keep on caroling, Billy Idol. Put the name of Christ out there on the airwaves. Make Him known far and wide. Someone out there needs to hear the name of Christ and it might just be from your lips that they hear it.