I have always had a rule about Christmas music and I stuck to it hard. No Christmas music until after Thanksgiving. This was the rule in my parents house as we were growing up and I carried it on with me for nearly 8 1/2 years of marriage. But this year I cracked, felt a little guilty, thought about it, and realized it was okay.
You see, we’re going through a bit of a rough patch right now. Our nearly immediate future is very much up in the air and we don’t know what’s going to happen. Without sharing details I will just say that every aspect of our lives is hinging on a decision made by other people and this decision is taking far longer than we expected… and we may be waiting a few weeks longer. While a few weeks doesn’t seem like a long time, it really is when there’s a possibility of you having your whole life turned upside down right after Christmas. So this is where we are sitting. Teetering on the edge. In between. Waiting.
Up until about two weeks ago I had been doing okay. Patience was winning and I was at peace with it all. Then all of a sudden it wasn’t okay. I started putting some pieces together and looking at potential timelines. I looked at my sweet babies and felt panic rise up as I scheduled my daughter’s third surgery for one week before Christmas day. I couldn’t wait anymore. I was at the end of my frayed rope. I needed an answer. My nerves were getting the best of me and waves of nauseous anxiety hit me at very inconvenient times. I got in my car alone one evening last week to pick up some groceries and I turned on the radio.
Christmas music came pouring through the speaker, and while I nearly reached over to change the station I instead found myself turning to volume up. I don’t remember what song was playing but I do remember feeling a small bit of peace as tears filled my eyes. And so the Christmas music continued to and from the store. When I got home I turned it on as I cooked dinner and every day since then we’ve been listening to Christmas music.
As I thought about my reaction in the car and the peace and comfort I’ve been getting from having Christmas music playing a bit early this year I realized the reason. Christmas isn’t about the gifts, santa, the decorations, cookies, or twinkle lights. The commercial version of Christmas isn’t what is bringing a little cheer to our home during a difficult season. No, it’s the simple, basic, raw truth and meaning of Christmas… a Savior is coming. And I need to be reminded of that constantly right now.
The people were exhausted. They were weary and frightened and in need of their King. And everything on heaven and earth was groaning for the Messiah in the weeks before Mary delivered her baby in a barn. The Christmas season is that quiet, desperate whisper… “I need a Savior. I need my King.” And Christmas carols are so very good at reminding us that our King has come and is coming again.
“God rest ye merry gentlemen, let nothing you dismay. Remember, Christ, our Saviour was born on Christmas day to save us all from Satan’s power when we were gone astray. O tidings of comfort and joy…”
As I listen to the music coming from my radio I start thinking about what we really know about Christmas. The weary and faithful mother. The humble and loyal father. The kind inn keeper. The frightened shepherds. The wise men who were desperate for truth and followed a star to a manger. The angry king. The innocent baby who would grow into a man who would die for me.
With each song I am reminded of the need for a Savior and the breathless anticipation that surrounded his birth. And that reminds me that the King is returning and we are waiting with those same groans of weariness, desperation, and humbleness. But we know He is coming.
And so I find that Christmas music is appropriate all year round, too all those who may need it… and right now I need it.