The Holy Sound, Stanza #1
Three weeks in December is never enough to prepare for what Christmas has become. Even though we in the U.S. have Thanksgiving, we are simultaneously preparing for Christmas, not fully appreciating that holiday. This time of year is filled with everything extra. We have various events and parties, and kids do too. Christmas gift exchanges and productions at school, every workplace, church, or club has their own time-consuming, money zapping events. I’m basing the devotional until Christmas on a poem, covering one stanza of each post until Christmas. The poem is entitled “The Holy Sound.”
The High Price
Every year we sacrifice our time, savings, and sanity to provide a Merry Christmas for all. These happy memories come with a price tag. The most beautiful time of year can take a toll literally, financially, emotionally, physically, and spiritually. It’s the season we deck out our halls, yards, house, and trees. We buy and wrap presents, plan and cook more, bake more, buy more than any time of year. Many of us live at the point of exhaustion on regular days. The extras of Christmas send over the top of our festively lighted roofs. In the end, the only “Christ” we find in Christmas is in its spelling; a rushed reading of Luke 2 or an obligatory Christmas church service. The purpose of Christmas is to celebrate the birth of Christ. However, in the midst of it all, it’s Jesus who gets set aside.
What has been is what will be, and what has been done is what will be done, and there is nothing new under the sun.Ecclesiastes 1:9
Same Ole’ Thing
The longer I live, the more I see the truth in Ecclesiastes 1:9, “There is nothing new under the sun.” It was the same in Bethlehem at Christ’s birth; it was teeming with visitors. The streets, taverns, marketplaces, and hotels were full of people who traveled for the census. People were celebrating with family, and there were the same issues that surround some families today. Mary and Joseph ended up with Harvest Host’s open-air Airbnb experience. The animals came at no extra charge. Only one young couple was present as the King of Kings entered the world. Our lives are filled with duties, stress, and fanfare. However, God chose his entrance to be a quiet place of a manger just outside the chaos of the busy city. In a world that continually tops itself to get our attention, God speaks to us in the whispers despite the chaos.
“…great and strong wind tore the mountains and broke in pieces the rocks before the Lord, but the Lord was not in the wind. And after the wind an earthquake, but the Lord was not in the earthquake. 12 And after the earthquake a fire, but the Lord was not in the fire. And after the fire the sound of a low whisper.”1 Kings 19:11-13
The Bible says, “The sound of a low whisper” according to 1 Kings 19:11-13, and His advent was no different. The Mighty God and King didn’t arrive in a palace with trumpets heralding his arrival. God doesn’t try to compete with our chaos but approaches us within it. He whispers to our hearts, calling us away from it to be with Him. Our chores, errands, worries, stress, and even emotional turmoil of this time of year, make it easy to miss Him. Just like two thousand years ago, the sweet sound of heaven was hidden by the abundance of busyness, chores, worries, and woes. Our overwhelm and emotional distress can drown out the sacred sound from heaven, just as it did to people in Bethlehem. We find Him when we step into the stillness, just outside of our hustle and bustle.