I love the melodies of this season. You might even catch me singing out of church calendar order. "O Come, Let us Adore Thee" always feels appropriate probably because adoration is always appropriate. We are welcome to approach the throne of grace in every season and adoration seems the proper thing to sing. But, today there is a different melody ... one that isn't getting lost between The Christmas Song and Mariah Carey. The melody is not like the hallelujah chorus. It doesn't feel like the candlelight service. This melody is different.
I am singing sadness into this beautiful season and I don't know if that's altogether okay. I don't know if that emotion jives with the church calendar and with the anticipation of my Savior and when others are singing "repeat the sounding joy"?
Can I sing sadness at Christmas?
I think I am, regardless. This song is not all sad, but it is not all "tidings of comfort and joy," either.
Christ came down because we are wretched and wayward. He left glory and snuggled into a humble straw bed because we worship other gods. But, mostly He came down because in His great love He is exalted.
He came quietly, like a whisper in the winter.
And His life shook the universe while He held the universe together. He rubbed shoulders with brokenness, broke bread with sinners, and invited the lowly to dinner. He loved without exception, but He never apologized for the message of redemption - the message that creation is in desperate need of saving.
And if you give a good honest look at our desperate need, it might make you sad, too. Sad that He had to come the way He did, sad that we are so hardheaded and sad that we couldn't learn a different way. Sad that after a miracle birth and miracle resurrection we are still learning and still desperate.
There are a lot of people stuffed on to subway trains, with trees and shopping bags and too many tired faces. Christmas is work here, like a second or third job. It gets spelled out in wrinkles and reprimands and cumbersome boxes and Christmas is work.
Limbs start to feel like lead and the "Christmas spirit" is sly like a fox.
And maybe that's why I am sad. Because the world is still dark. Even though the light came as a miracle in a stable, but the world is still rushing in blind darkness - collecting toys and keeping up appearances and wishing happy holidays.
Sadness is an okay way to feel at Christmas, but it is never the end of the story. In my heart I know that Christ conquered the grave and with that death and darkness fell, too. I know that there is a standing invitation to dance in marvelous light - an invitation that I can extend to every Christmas-weary soul.
Christ came to give life, and life abundant. He came to walk out perfect obedience, to demonstrate perfect love. He came because He was the only One able to perfectly satisfy the payment a world of sin required. And in His coming and living, He showed us the way.
Sadness is an okay emotion, maybe, if it is a prayer. And that is what I am singing today - a prayer to be an instrument, to be a little bit like the miracle who came to redeem me out of a life of darkness.
This is the Christmas song I am singing today.