Dear Church Family,
Many years ago I asked my children why we had to listen to the music in the car so loudly, especially when they had headphones, and the answer was that while they could hear the music when it played more softly, they couldn’t “feel” it. I was not convinced that the music needed to be so loud in the car, but I did understand that feeling it move us was a bigger experience than simply contemplating lyrics or appreciating the rhythm. A part of the song and its story was conveyed in the way if felt to be in its presence. The power of the music was not just to inform, but literally to move us.
Christmas is a season of stories which conveys our most sought-after experiences: Hope, Peace, Joy and Love. We can appreciate these words and contemplate their meaning. The hymns of the church attempt to lift these ideas and to transcend the reason of the season in such a way as to transport us to the euphoria of divine company. It is not enough to hear from God, we also need to feel God. The reorganization of the cosmos is not a limited and distant idea, it is personal and transforming. When Charles Wesley invites our chorus in Hark the Harold Angels Sing, we confront a redirection from a “zero sum game” world. His lyrics, “Light and Life to all he brings, risen with healing in his wings (vs 3, UMH #240) stirs us to confess that Jesus brings illumination that darkness can neither comprehend nor overcome and as a result we live beyond anything that limits life, forever. Singing these words, hearing them sung is an important part of this storied season, but to sing them in the community of faith with a candle lit preamble to eternal light overcoming darkness… this is to do more than turn up the volume, it is to tune into the feel of Christmas.
So many people experience a song of the season as “Muzak,” distant and in the back of our black Friday world, or with “Alexa” overcoming a silent night with a little background buzz. You can be a bridge to a new light and life to those in your world. Please pray for those you know and if God leads you invite them to feel God with them in this community of faith. Jesus has come to raise us up; this is more than an idea!