This week we begin a new seasonal sermon series, “The Songs of Christmas.” Perhaps you roll your eyes when, at the mall, the dentist, the airport, or when you’re put “on hold,” you hear the first songs of Christmas. Christmas music is used to speed up buying, brighten dreary travel and sooth human stress.
But the church understands Christmas music best—its rightful rhythms and power. Rhythms? The church doesn’t actually perform Christmas carols until Christmas Eve. The four weeks before Christmas are Advent music—songs of longing, hope, penance and trust. And then on Christmas Eve and Day we break out the carols and sing, sing, sing!
Power? Each week of our Christmas Sermon Series we’ll focus on God’s gospel power, conveyed in the songs of scripture. It is fitting to convey the gospel in song. A song’s meanings outstrip the power of mere speech, just like the gospel. A song lifts and amplifies our emotions, just like the gospel. And a song is put into our mouths and souls—where the gospel belongs. It is satisfying to hear a good Christmas sermon, yet we may forget it by the next day. But a good Christmas song is repeated over and over. It sinks into our souls and reshapes our lives.
This week, Sunday, December 2, we’ll hear the Christmas songs of John the Baptist and Isaiah. Both imagine our lives as tree stumps. Are these stumps dead, even burned black (think about our wild fires)? Or are these stumps alive, with new shoots sprouting forth? In following weeks we’ll hear other biblical songs of utter trust, whole-hearted living, universal longing, deferred hope fulfilled.
Please invite your friends to join us for The Songs of Christmas— with no credit cards, dentists’ drills or lost baggage in sight!