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Advent 2018 – Sunday, December 23

The Sounds of Christmas

Having just visited a foreign country, the notion of the sound of things is very present to me. The Chinese language, a Muslim prayer call, a Thai TV commercial—they all sound so strange and inaccessible and they leave me a stranger standing on the outside of a wall with no apparent door through which to pass. Of course, to those on the inside, these sounds are so close and familiar so as to be indiscernable; woven into the everyday fabric of normalcy.

As a Christian, often I find that the sounds of Christmas, of the Christian faith, are too close. Songs of celebration speak of a Holy night, a Savior’s birth, the coming of a King who rules the world “with truth and grace,” the “Lamb of God” and the “Lion of Judah.” To me, standing inside this Christian edifice, these words and phrases pass unimpeded through the filters of my mind; barely recognized for what they represent. To one on the outside, they must seem as foreign as a Thai menu or a Chinese wedding.

Perhaps a helpful activity this Christmas would be to step back and listen to the sounds of Christmas with new ears. Allow yourself to be a foreigner again. And perhaps the good news message of hope that first landed on the ears of the shepherds and literally changed the world will stir your heart, liven your step and embolden your heart to live with strength, beauty, love, grace and hope.

Rob Schmidt, worship