Light in a Dark Place
Updated: Dec 19, 2020
I heard the announcer on a streaming music station say that I can choose to listen to my favorite Christmas carols without the words if I like. Push a button and poof, just the music. You need not endure "O little town of Bethlehem how still we see thee lie." or "Away in a manger, no crib for a bed, the little Lord Jesus lay down his sweet head." After all, who wouldn't be happily rid of such stuff? I'm surprised radio stations aren't required to give a trigger warning. "Some may be offended by our lyrics. Listener discretion advised." Bah humbug!
The other thing I've heard and read is that folks are putting up lights earlier this year than in previous years. I did wonder who goes around and counts the number of lights on any particular day, but that's my skeptical, fact-checking nature kicking in.
I do believe it. Mainly I believe the claim because I know that I put mine up earlier than other years. If I do it, then so does everyone. That seems unassailable. And of course, given the unprece.. unusual nature of this year, it makes sense. Put up the Christmas lights as a signal. Someone really does live here! Is there anyone else out there?
Folks do move toward the light in a dark and uncertain time. Maybe that's not such a profound insight, but it is encouraging. And it's good for business—the Christmas light selling business. Is there something hard-wired in us that we signal the very thing we are looking for when we need cheer? I think motivational speakers claim something like that.
The idea reminds me of a scripture passage that many preachers will be using at this time of year. Isaiah, chapter nine, verse two (9:2) "The people who walked in darkness have seen a great light." G.F. Handel includes that passage in "The Messiah". I figured you'd appreciate knowing that.
Back to Christmas carols. I love carols and Christmas songs, with one or two exceptions. I’m not a big fan of Alvin and the Chipmunks Christmas song, and I can do without the details of how grandma got run over by some reindeer. Gayla Peevey is welcome to sing about her hippopotamus, and the same with chestnuts roasting on an open fire. I’m good with that. But it’s the carols that are special.
They tell a story that never gets old. It is the story of how God did something absolutely astounding by sending the Messiah of all mankind not as a conquering hero but as a new-born child. And guess who were the very first people to hear about it. Shepherds watching their sheep by night, all seated on the ground, and the angel of the Lord came down, and glory shone around.
Give me angels and shepherds and mangers and throw in a trio of three kings of Orient, bearing gifts as they traverse afar. And I’ll take care of the Christmas lights. I think it’s time to turn mine on and light up my part of the neighborhood.