During the last four weeks of Advent I have written about preparing for the coming of our messiah. Tomorrow we celebrate Christmas Day, the arrival of our Messiah. We all know that the world was forever changed by the arrival of the baby Jesus. The question for you and me is this: how will we be changed by the arrival of the Messiah in our lives this Christmas? Luke tells us in verse 1:6-7:
“While they were there, the time came for her to have her child, and she gave birth to her firstborn son. She wrapped him in swaddling clothes and laid him in a manger, because there was no room for them in the inn.”
How can we make room for the messiah in our heart’s this Christmas?
Each of us, during our lifetime has developed our own special traditions for Christmas. Last year I shared a Christmas song with you called “Touch Hands on Christmas Morning“. That song comes from a Christmas album that as I was growing up was very much a part our family’s Christmas tradition. My mother purchased this Christmas album at the old Grants Department Store. Today I want to examine three different songs from that album to see how they depict Christmas.
For nostalgia purposes you can click the links below to hear two of the songs I write about today and actually watch the old record player play these songs from that same album I played on my record player as a child. (I suspect most of you are old enough to remember the pre-iPod record playing days). You can also order and download an updated version of the album by clicking here.
The first song I want to examine lyrics from is Santo Natale. For many people “Merry Christmas” is just something to say at this time of year. Christmas has become for many people simply a time for wishing someone well and for giving presents. Read the lyrics from this song by Pattie Page called Santo Natale:
Santo Natale, Santo Natale,
This is my way of saying Merry Christmas to you
Santo Natale, Santo Natale,
May your blessings be many
And your troubles be few.
To those I love who are so dear
Though we are near or far apart
I make a wish, my only wish
With all the love in my heart
Click here to listen and watch the old record player play:
Certainly wishing someone that their “blessings be many and their troubles be few” is a good thing to do. But have we reduced Christmas to just that, some good wishes for a happy life? In Is 35:1-6a, 10we read these verses:
“The desert and the parched land will exult;the steppe will rejoice and bloom.They will bloom with abundant flowers,and rejoice with joyful song.
Those whom the LORD has ransomed will returnand enter Zion singing,crowned with everlasting joy;they will meet with joy and gladness,sorrow and mourning will flee.”
So if Isaiah was telling us that during Advent we have been in parched desert lands and that we are destined to bloom with abundant flowers and songs of rejoicing when we greet the Lord then maybe the question to be posed at Christmas is not “what do I want for Christmas” but rather “what do I want from Christmas”. Let’s look at the words from a “Star Carol” by Simon and Garfunkel:
Long years ago, on a deep winter night.High in the heavens, a star shone bright.While in the manger, a wee baby lay.Sweetly asleep, on a bed of hay.
Jesus our lord, was that baby so small.Lay down to sleep, in a humble stall.Then came the star, and it stood over head.Shedding its light, ’round his little head.
Dear baby Jesus, how tiny thou art.I’ll make a place, for thee in my heart.And when the stars, in the heavens I see.Ever and always, I’d think of thee…
Click here to listen and watch the old record player play
The song concludes with the words “I’ll make a place for thee in my heart and when the stars, in the heavens I see, ever and always I’d think of thee.” Now we are making progress. We have moved from simply a song of wishing someone well to stating that we will make a place for Jesus in our hearts. This is what we all should want from Christmas. Do you truly desire for Jesus to take up residence in your heart? What other things in your life are crowding him out and causing no room in the inn?
Again let’s take another look at the ending of Luke’s narrative of Jesus’ birth:
“And this will be a sign for you: you will find an infant wrapped in swaddling clothes and lying in a manger. And suddenly there was a multitude of the heavenly host with the angel, praising God and saying: “Glory to God in the highest and on earth peace to those on whom his favor rests.”
My friends each year we see the baby Jesus lying in mangers on display in our homes. The question we are all called to ask ourselves is this: will we find the Messiah…..the baby Jesus alive in our hearts? If we allow Jesus to reside in our hearts…..if we allow our hearts to become the inn for our savior, then on Christmas day we can sing the lyrics from this song from Handel’s Messiah:
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Hallelujah! Hallelujah! Hallelujah!Hallelujah! Hallelujah!For the Lord God Omnipotent reigneth.Hallelujah! Hallelujah! Hallelujah! Hallelujah! For the Lord God omnipotent reigneth.Hallelujah! Hallelujah! Hallelujah! Hallelujah!Hallelujah! Hallelujah! Hallelujah! The kingdom of this worldIs become the kingdom of our Lord,And of His Christ, and of His Christ;And He shall reign for ever and ever,For ever and ever, forever and ever,King of kings, and Lord of lords,King of kings, and Lord of lords, And Lord of lords,And He shall reign,And He shall reign forever and ever,King of kings, forever and ever,And Lord of lords,Hallelujah! Hallelujah!And He shall reign forever and ever,King of kings! and Lord of lords! And He shall reign forever and ever,King of kings! and Lord of lords!Hallelujah! Hallelujah! Hallelujah! Hallelujah!Hallelujah!
“And he shall reign for ever and ever,” those are certainly some beautiful words. Are those words real for you? Does Jesus reign as king of your heart forever and ever? As I finish today let me ask you these final two questions; If you have been longing for the coming of the messiah this advent season, now that Christmas is arriving, how will you be different the day after Christmas? What will change in your life by making room in your heart for the savior of the world?
To all of you who read my 4thdayletters around the world I say to you:
Nollaig Shona Dhuit
Chung Mung Giang Sinh
I’D MIILAD SAID OUA SANA SAIDA
Lord Jesus, my heart is open, please take up residence there and fill me with joy, peace and love, Amen!