O Little Town of Bethlehem

I have sort of a dysfunctional relationship with Christmas Carols. 

I Love them, But…

I Hate when radio stations play all Christmas Music…In November.

I believe there is no more awkward experience in life than answering your door to find a group of people you’ve never met singing Christmas Carols to you.  Do you tip them?  Invite them in?  Release the hounds?  Stand there in your sweat pants grinning uncomfortably like an escaped mental patient?  (That’s my only “move” I can come up with.)

As a worship leader I hated leading Christmas Carols.  They are written in inhuman keys.  They are hard to sing.  Most people only know the first verse, so as soon as you venture into “Lo! he abhors not the Virgin’s womb”  you are pretty much going to be singing by yourself.

Maybe it’s the Gingerbread Coffee I’m drinking talking,  but I think more than ever we live in a world crying out for the Hope written of in Christmas Carols.  Take the classic “O Little Town of Bethlehem” for example: (I didn’t misspell “Oh”…they used the hip-hop spelling).

O Little Town of Bethlehem

How still we see thee lie!
Above thy deep and dreamless sleep
The silent stars go by;
Yet in thy dark streets shineth
The everlasting Light;
The hopes and fears of all the years
Are met in thee to-night.

Fears?   Check.  We live in a world filled  with them. 

 Hope?  Not so much.  We’ve been disappointed too many times.

Jesus?  Still the answer.  Still the everlasting light.  Still the hope for this season and the year beyond.   I think we need that more than ever.

Suddenly, even the weird fourth verse that no one knows starts to make sense.

Where charity stands watching
And faith holds wide the door,
The dark night wakes, the glory breaks,
And Christmas comes once more.

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