Wednesday, December 17, 2014

Why I Stopped Listening to Christmas Music

Today I stopped listening to Christmas music, and switched to "regular" worship music. That in itself is odd. I've always loved Christmas music. I have 530 songs on my "Christmas songs" playlist. 

I never made it through the list. I have to stop. There are only so many renditions of "O Holy Night" that I can listen to before I start wondering if some of the artists are just trying to show off...even the "Christian" ones. (Hmmm, maybe I need to revisit my "in the same manner that you judge you will be judged" blog from the other day).

And then there are songs like this:

It's the most wonderful time of the year
With the kids jingle-belling 
and everyone telling you, 
"Be of good cheer."
It's the most wonderful time of the year!

It's the hap-happiest season of all
With those holiday greetings
and gay, happy meetings
when friends come to call
It's the hap-happiest season of all...

...It's the most wonderful time of the year
There'll be much mistletoeing
and hearts will be glowing 
When loved ones are near
It's the most wonderful time of the year!
Edward Pola and George Wyle @1963

It's really not the most wonderful time of the year. Not for a lot of people. Not for those who have estranged family members, those who've lost loved ones, or those who are dealing with anger, unforgiveness or bitterness. 

Not everyone's heart glows when loved ones are near. 


It's not the happiest season of all for those who are battling illnesses, depression or loneliness. Those folks don't want some bubbly, happy person shouting in their face, "Be of good cheer!" (read: Whatever it is, get over it! This is a time of joy!)

Of course, this is a worldly song. I could just listen to songs like Joy to the World or Silent Night.

Except that Silent Night always makes me cry. And Joy to the World is just a bit much for my 7am commute. 

Truth?

It's just all too much this year. All of it. The songs. The parties. The decorations. The shopping. The gifts.

For the first time, maybe in my life, all I want is Jesus.

And if I could give all of the people on my gift-giving list one gift, it would be to know Jesus in an intimate way. 

And I fall into that latter category right now...the not so happy one. 

You may recall in an earlier post last week, that I have (self-diagnosed) S.A.D. No matter how hard I try, I can't seem to shake the sadness that rests just below the surface, due to the lack of light and warmth. It comes over me when I least expect it. And because of my lack of energy and physical movement, I've become just a tad apathetic.

But here's the thing: 

I still have joy. Indescribable joy. It's indescribable because it doesn't make sense. How can I be sad but still have joy? 

Because I am with God and He is always with me. Because this baby we anticipate as our coming King offers me hope. Security. Blessed assurance. 



Advent anticipates His coming, and Christmas celebrates it, but the truth is, He has already come. 

The sadness I feel is fleeting. It's a condition. It's not who I am. 

It comes over me, but it never overcomes me.  It is not mine and I refuse to embrace it as such. 

But Jesus is mine. And He is real. Never-changing. 

And His joy is never-ending. Not fleeting, but ever-present. 

The joy of the Lord is my strength (Nehemiah 8:10).

Maybe that's why the Christmas music is so hard for me to listen to and sing along with this year: because I need to worship the King who has come, not the baby who is yet to come. I need that blessed assurance that Jesus is mine, not the hope that He can be mine. 

Christmas songs are about anticipating the birth of Christ. Right now, I need to know the Christ who was already born, died, rose again and lives victoriously, fighting for me in my gray days.

Songs like Take Me In, by Clayton Brooks of Oaks Worship---in my opinion, one of the best and most anointed worship songs I've ever heard. (If video does not display, click on link)
Joy to the World has its place. But declaring, Oh the joy the floods my soul when I'm with you, Lord; when I'm with you Lord (from the song, Take Me In) does in fact flood my soul with joy, even in the midst of the sadness. 

This is what gives me hope.

Winter is not the happiest season for me. It's the worst. It's cold, dark and gray. But I wait in joyful hope for the spring. It's only a few months. I always get through it, and I'll get through it again. There will be sunlight, warmth, and smells of honeysuckle in the air. Snowdrops and crocuses will peak out from the snow, while vibrant yellow daffodils and red tulips will burst gleefully through the melting ground. Trees will once again bud and bloom. Daylight Savings Time will give me that extra hour of daylight, so that I can once again go into the woods for my hikes after work. 

As the saying goes, "This too shall pass."

But these things remain: Love. Joy. Peace. Patience. Kindness. Goodness. Faithfulness. Gentleness. Self-control.

Joy.

Joy that floods my soul.

Joy to the world!

Blessings Along the Path,
Mary

Sharing this post with Holley at Coffee For Your Heart, Holly with Testimony Tuesday, Judith at
Wholehearted Wednesday, Shari at Word Filled Wednesday, Rosilind at A Little R&R , Beth at Wedded Wednesday, Crystal at Thriving Thursdays, Lyli at Thought Provoking Thursday

6 comments:

  1. I'm suffering a little bit of winter blues myself this morning. Thanks for the reminder that I'm not alone! Not only do others suffer but the Savior's joy is alway there waiting to be claimed!

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    1. I'm so glad I gave you a ray of hope, Kevin. Thanks for visiting. Without the Savior, what would we do?

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  2. I really like the old Christmas carols. And Christmas has always been (and still is) a joyous time for me.

    However...all those expectations of happy celebration can sometimes be hard to live up to...and can actually work the opposite.

    For the times I've mourned during Christmas season, the sharp contrast between my grief and the expectation of happy celebration makes the grief all the more lonely and sorrowful.

    But the joy...that deep joy in Christ...in knowing He loves me and that He is in control...

    The joy abides...and cohabitates with the sorrow...

    Blessings to you, this Christmas season...and "glad tidings of comfort and joy"!

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    1. Thanks, Joe. I like that...joy abides and cohabitates with the sorrow. I draw comfort from my Joy!

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  3. Thank you for your beautiful words of affirmation to those who don't feel so jolly at Christmas. It's ok to not feel that it's the hap-happiest time of the year--but our joy? Other people's perceptions of the season and how to celebrate it can't take that away from me!

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  4. Indescribable joy. Yes! That is what I want for everyone! To have all the hard things in life and still be content. Joy amidst the suffering.

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