We went to the New Song Very Merry Christmas concert Saturday night and had a wonderful time. There were carriage rides going and nuts being roasted next to the Civic Center. It makes my heart happy to see our once-dying Square coming to life.
The older I get, the more I appreciate Christmas tradition. There's something about making treats for my neighbors and singing carols that makes me feel close to Jesus. Mom and I pitch in and make our Christmas goodies together, and I absolutely treasure the moments we have singing along with the familiar Christmas songs.
But one thing I've discovered is familiarity often steals the impact of the lyrics. Here are some lyrics from Hark the Herald, Angels Sing: Hark the herald angels sing, "Glory to the newborn King! Peace on earth and mercy mild, God and sinners reconciled!" What? God and sinners reconciled?! That's fantastic news!
The song goes on to say: "Hail the heaven-born Prince of Peace! Hail the Son of Righteousness! Light and life to all He brings. Ris'n with healing in His wings. Mild He lays His glory by. Born that man no more may die. Born to raise the sons of earth. Born to give them second birth." Hark! The herald angels sing, "Glory to the newborn King!"
When I think about those words, "Born that man no more may die. Born to raise the sons of earth," I can't help but get excited about all that Christmas represents. It's so much more than trees and gifts and Santa. I'm not against all that stuff, but that stuff doesn't give us hope. I would never tell my neighbors in Mayfield to be of good cheer; Santa Claus is coming to town. But I would tell them Christ is a comforter and a provider. I would say that He loves them so much He came to earth so they and their loved ones can have eternal life.
Of all the things that have come to represent Christmas, it's only Jesus that truly gives us hope. I had a time in my life when I lost everything I thought mattered, but I met a man named Jesus, and He gave me life. I've also lost people I love, and it was Jesus who gave me comfort and the promise I would see my people again. I know how real He is, and I know He cares about this broken world with all its heartache and pain. He cares so much He stepped right into the middle of our mess that first Christmas morning.
Here are more lyrics for you: O Holy Night! The stars are brightly shining. It is the night of the dear Savior's birth! Long lay the world in sin and error pining. Till he appeared and the soul felt its worth. A thrill of hope the weary soul rejoices, for yonder breaks a new and glorious morn! Fall on your knees, oh hear the angel voices. Oh, night divine. Oh, night when Christ was born.
Jesus is the only one that can make our soul feel it's worth, and that's worth falling on our knees about! He's the only one that can make messes into messages and sinners into saints. He's the reason for the season and the only hope known to man. So, go tell it on the mountain! Jesus Christ has come!
Cris Corzine-McCloskey is a Licensed Clinical Social Worker (LCSW) and Director of Caring Counseling Ministries. CCM is a not-for-profit corporation for the purpose of providing counseling from a Biblical perspective at an affordable cost to persons living in Southern Illinois. Our office is located at 11264 Route 37 Marion, IL. To make an appointment, please call (618) 997-2129.