I arrived in Midland on Friday afternoon to find, to my surprise, that my family's collection of Christmas music has suddenly doubled. Perhaps tripled. For so many years we have listened to the same three cassettes - Elvis Presley's Blue Christmas, Kenny G's Miracles: The Holiday Album and George Strait's Merry Christmas Strait to You - during the whole Christmas season. We start with them when we decorate the tree and they reappear periodically until about New Year's.
But this year we have a veritable smorgasbord of Christmas tunes. Mom bought the new Alan Jackson Christmas album - wonderful, smooth renditions of some of my favourite Christmas carols, and a lovely new song called "Let It Be Christmas." There's the James Taylor Christmas album I bought for Dad last year (ultra-mellow), and the new Josh Groban release, Noel (rich and wonderful), that Jeremiah let me open this week. There's a lovely piano carols album Mom picked up somewhere, and a husband-and-wife duo called the Machens who sing beautifully, and the Mariah Carey Christmas album (my sister does a mean karaoke rendition of "All I Want for Christmas is You"). With the result that our five-CD stereo is perennially full of various versions of Christmas music, all proclaiming joyfully that it is that time of year.
I adore carols of every stripe, so much so that I know all the obscure lyrics nobody else knows, like the third and fourth verses to "O Come O Come Emmanuel" and the words to "Come Thou Long-Expected Jesus" and all the verses to classics like "O Little Town of Bethlehem." I've realised again this year that there's some great theology in some of our old favourites, such as the second verse to "Hark the Herald Angels Sing":
Christ, by highest heav'n adored
Christ the everlasting Lord!
Late in time, behold Him come
Offspring of a virgin's womb
Veiled in flesh the Godhead see
Hail the incarnate Deity
Pleased as man with man to dwell
Jesus, our Emmanuel
Hark! The herald angels sing
"Glory to the newborn King!"
This is the Christmas story in a nutshell. Eternal God, come down to dwell with man, born of a virgin, the Word incarnate. Pleased to dwell with us, because He loves us, and be God-with-us - Emmanuel.
Merry Christmas to all my blogosphere friends. May you enjoy hugs from family, that special gift you wanted, cups of your favourite hot drink around the fire, and music that inspires joy and wonder. Christ is here; He has come to dwell with us. Because He loves us. He loves you. Merry, merry Christmas.