Saturday, December 25, 2010

♫ Musical Interlude ♫

          I love Christmas. The feel of the season, the family time, the tradition. I especially love the music of this time of year. Christmas music always seems to uplift people and get them in the spirit of Christmas. (I realize that the start of this entry has sounded a little cliche', but just go with me on this =]) Maybe it's because we've all grown up listening to the same music during the holiday season, maybe it's something else I don't know. I do know that unless you are Ebenezer Scrooge Christmas music usually brings a smile to a person's face.
           I have always been the kind of person to start listening to Christmas music as early as possible - what can I say? I was in choir for the last 3 years in school, you get into the habit of starting Christmas music in like October haha ;o) - and I have my favorites.
           This year has felt a little different for me.  It didn't really feel like the Christmas season until yesterday which - as you know - was Christmas Eve.  I'm not really sure why. I think it might have to do with the fact that at my house we didn't decorate much for Christmas. My roommate and I put a string of lights up over a doorway and in the front window but other than that not much to let you know Christmas was coming.  Growing up there were always decorations and lights up everywhere. Now am I saying you need the decorations for Christmas? "How the Grinch Stole Christmas" has taught us all that you don't need any, Christmas will still come... In any case I have babbled my way onto a rabbit trail.  Back to the main point: Music this season.  One traditional hymn keeps catching my attention this year. "I heard the Bells on Christmas Day."
I've of course heard it before but I had never really listened to or read the lyrics:
I heard the bells on Christmas day
Their old familiar carols play,
And wild and sweet the words repeat
Of peace on earth, good will to men.

And thought how, as the day had come,
The belfries of all Christendom
Had rolled along the unbroken song
Of peace on earth, good will to men.

Till ringing, singing on its way
The world revolved from night to day,
A voice, a chime, a chant sublime
Of peace on earth, good will to men.

Then from each black, accursed mouth
The cannon thundered in the South,
And with the sound the carols drowned
Of peace on earth, good will to men.

It was as if an earthquake rent
The hearth-stones of a continent,
And made forlorn, the households born
Of peace on earth, good will to men.

And in despair I bowed my head
“There is no peace on earth,” I said,
“For hate is strong and mocks the song
Of peace on earth, good will to men.”

Then pealed the bells more loud and deep:
“God is not dead, nor doth He sleep;
The wrong shall fail, the right prevail
With peace on earth, good will to men.”

           I really loved the promise in the words and the meaning and thought behind each verse. The song really tells a story of the author's faith. Starting out with such great faith, hitting an obstacle and stumbling a little, growing to despair and then finally realizing there is hope in God, that God is alive and well, watching us and guiding us.  I wanted to share a version of this song that a friend shared with me. Some of you may have heard this version, it's been on the radio - especially 104.9fm (positive life radio)- quite a bit this season. I hope you enjoy it, and I would encourage you to really think about the words in the song.

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

A Letter to Myself

Dear Me,
    How are you doing?  I think you hardly know these days.  Look, I just wanted to send you a quick reminder about something.  God knows what He is doing.  I know that it's hard to believe at times, or maybe it's just that you are stubborn and can't get past the issue of giving up control... AGAIN.... BUT IT'S TRUE!!  I (we?) have been OCDish my whole life, you know?  Just get past it now, ok?  It's hurting me to hold on to everything... You know how when groceries need to be taken into the house it seems like a hassle to carry everything into the house in more than one trip?  So you try to take everything at once so your hands hurt by the time you get into the house because there is so much strain from all the baggage you're holding onto?  Well... I think that's kind of what I've been doing. (we've been doing?)  I don't think we can do it like that anymore.  My hands are tied, they are strained from the junk you're holding onto.  I think it's time we put the groceries down and try it in more than one trip, Ash.  Something to consider...:
     “Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest."**
p.s. It's long past time, wouldn't you say?
** Matthew 11:28 (NIV)