A Christmas Song Wrapped In Love

For many people in our society, Christmas music is a wonderful part of this season. It seems you can hardly get away from the music of Christmas. Some of it is really good and some of it isn’t. You can consider it background noise and not pay attention, but I encourage you to listen closely.

Pause and allow the music to bring you to a moment where it’s not about the style of music, but rather about the substance of the lyrics. Allow the lyrics to help you focus on the incredible moment in world history when God came into our world as a baby.  

One Christmas carol reminds me poignantly of what the season is about. “O Little Town of Bethlehem” doesn’t focus on where Jesus was born so much as why he was born. It says, “O holy Child of Bethlehem, descend to us, we pray, cast out our sin and enter in, be born to us today.”  

That phrase contains truth about me. There is this thing called sin. It is the self-centered part of me that breeds selfishness and self-absorption. It makes me believe that I run my own life and I don’t need God; I can trust myself.  In reality, I am fallen and flawed. My tendency is to deny that I am in need of God’s grace, because I actually think I’m a pretty good person.  

Some time ago I was reminded of my tendency to live in denial of the kind of person I really am. One day I went to my mailbox and discovered an envelope from the Fife Police Department. I thought it might be a fundraising letter. But when I opened it, I found a ticket for a moving violation.

The perpetrator of this violation was the owner of a 2002 Ford Explorer, just like me! My initial thought was, “This can’t be right.”  It included a fine of $124. And being my frugal self, that amount got my attention. It was the holidays, after all, and that would mean Mardel my wife would be getting a little less for Christmas.  

Now this was one of those photo tickets and as I looked at it, it appeared that I was stopped. From this evidence, I concluded that this was indeed a mistake. Upon further investigation, I learned that I could see an actual video of the event. I rubbed my hands together and set out to prove my innocence. Unfortunately, the video revealed me making a classic California stop and the truth was clear that I was guilty.  

It is easy to deny our own depravity. That ticket was the consequence of a self-centered choice. The truth about me is I have broken the laws of God. And if God were to show a video of my life it would be filled with sin and shame.  Yet I am reminded, in this wonderful season, that the Holy Child, God’s own Son, came to "cast out my sin and enter in" with His forgiveness and love, in spite of my shortcomings. In the words of Brennan Manning, “In the end, my sin will never outweigh God’s love”.

Thankful For Christmas!