As many of you likely did this past weekend, we pulled down all our Christmas decorations. It’s always exciting, to say the least, going up in the attic and navigating awkward sized boxed through four foot rectangle hole. Yet, decorations, Christmas decorations, really do transform a space. They take a lived in living room and transform into an inviting and warm space. They cause a four year old to ask, “Why do we put this up or that up?” This reminded me; this is the function of decor. It calls us to a different mindset. These decorations push us to consider something different. They transform space so it tells a different story.
The same can be said of song. Song transforms the air and the mind. As we decorated the other day, not only did we put up decorations around our house, we also turned on Christmas music. Suddenly Eleanor began to dance, sing, and clap. My wife and I swayed and moved and sang along. It put a different feel to the air. Songs drew up memories and stories. It took us to times where we celebrated with family or worshiped together Christmas Eve. Song has this power to move us, transform us, and take us places.
Our sermon series through Advent is built around song, and in particular, Christmas Carols. Each week we will look in detail at a different Christmas Carol and its emphasis on the Christmas story. Carols have been sung for thousands of years, some being traced back all the way to the 2nd Century. St. Francis of Assisi took carols and used them to tell the Christmas story during Nativity plays. These songs spoke to the joy and wonder of the coming of Jesus into the world. Charles Dickens, in writing his infamous story about Ebenezer Scrooge, picked a title which called attention to the transformative power of this season like the Carols sung during his time which speak of the transforming power of Emmanuel who enlivens the cold-hearted world to love and hope.
As we move into the season of Advent; and we see the decorations of Christmas, which call us to a different mindset and hear Christmas songs played, may we hear the Carols of Christmas sung in our hearts. May it transport us into the wonder of God’s Love for the world. And, may it bring hope in the midst of despair and may joy be found this season!