Tidings of Comfort and Joy
by Diane Cretin
As we approach Christmas, I think of obvious things like wrapping presents and decorating our Christmas tree. In my family, we play Christmas songs while we decorate the tree. Although I have done reasonably well not missing singing in person at church, I do miss singing Silent Night in a group a cappella. I used to do this with some friends at a Carol Sing every year. I do sing along sometimes as I watch the worship service or just close my eyes and listen to some songs. We each need to figure out what works best for us during this time to preserve our enjoyment of music.
Of special note is our upcoming online worship service on December 27, "Celebrating Christmas in Song". John Pavik provides information and music for six beloved Christmas carols that you can sing along to, interspersed with Scripture and prayer. I am very much looking forward to this service! I hope you participate.
My favorite holiday songs are from different generations. I am old enough that White Christmas by Bing Crosby will always have a special place in my heart. I also like to watch the movie. However, there is a newer song that speaks to my heart: Mary Did You Know. I love the version sung by Pentatonix for multiple reasons. I love how well Pentatonix harmonizes, which makes me imagine angels singing in heaven. I also love how this song makes me stop and think about thoughts Mary might have had over the years. When she kissed baby Jesus, did she just do it instinctively as a mother would without extra thought or did she think about the fact that she was kissing the face of God?
Some of the words to the song are:
Mary, did you know that your baby boy (repeats in the song between each of the following lines): Would one day walk on water? Would save our sons and daughters? Would give sight to a blind man? Would calm the storm with his hand? Has walked where angels trod? Is Lord of all creation? Would one day rule the nations?
Then there are these words:
Mary, did you know that your baby boy Has come to make you new?
This child that you delivered, will soon deliver you.
Did you know that your baby boy Is heaven's perfect Lamb?
That sleeping child you're Holding is the great, I Am.
I wonder if during Jesus’ life was Mary ever able to think of him as only her son or was she always thinking about him being the son of God. Did she think about him being the perfect Lamb, knowing what his destiny was?
I am very thankful but in awe that God sent Jesus, knowing how he would die. The sacrifice is hard to comprehend when you stop to think about it. But it did happen. So we are able to celebrate Christmas because of this sacrifice and Jesus’ obedience to God. We can sing songs and celebrate the birth of our savior.
This makes me think of some of the words in God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen:
God rest ye merry gentlemen Let nothing you dismay Remember Christ our Savior Was born on Christmas Day To save us all from Satan's pow'r When we were gone astray Oh tidings of comfort and joy Comfort and joy Oh tidings of comfort and joy
So let us not dismay as this year ends, but focus on comfort and joy.
Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays!