From the archives: There is room for you

December 12, 2012 at 1:25 am 1 comment

(I know I’ve disappeared – forgive me? This little blog will pick back up soon. But in the meantime, I’m sharing again one of my favorite Christmas posts. I wrote it two years ago, but it seems particularly relevant now. While this has been a fantastic semester, I have also been walking beside many dear people going through serious trials and suffering. When the forced merriment makes you cry, when you just can’t deal with Christmas or even understand it anymore: this is for you.

there is room for you in the stable. 

And that’s what it’s all about, Charlie Brown.)


When Dana said that she didn’t particularly care for the “wintry fun” songs any more, it made me pause.

How can you not like Christmas songs?!  What about the spirit, the cheer, the magic of the season? 

And then I realized.  Perhaps it’s sad, but every time I turn on B101 (which I only listen to during the Christmas season, by the way) I end up turning it off again almost right away.

I love Christmas songs.  I like the “wintry fun” songs.  But ohmygosh, you can get sick of them really fast.  I’m pretty sure I never want to hear “I Saw Mommy Kissing Santa Claus” again, and especially not the version that sounds like a little kid who can’t sing.  I don’t think “You’re A Mean One, Mr. Grinch” should be classified with Christmas songs (because it’s senseless out of context and is pathetic as a song – two good criteria for not playing it on the radio), and the back up girls on Elvis Presley’s “Blue Christmas” are driving me a little crazy.  “Last Christmas” is justpathetic.  And Melody and I race each other to see how fast we can recognize that a song is “Mama’s Shoes” and turn it off.  I think we’ve each heard it once, and it was so  traumatizing that we’re never going to listen to it again if we can help it.  I don’t know if it quite classifies as a wintry fun song, but you get the point.  The radio gets turned off pretty quickly now.

And sometimes, I notice, these types of songs seem to force the gaity.  You’dbetter feel the Christmas spirit and cheer (what is that, exactly?), and if not, there is clearly something wrong with you.  You’re a Grinch or a Stooge.  You should smile all the time, lose yourself in the bubbly wonderfulness.  It’s the most wonderful time of the year!  (For the record, I do still love that particular song).

Although most people don’t seem to know why they should be smiling and running around and all cheery – just that they should be.

But in the Christmas carols and hymns, there is a different story.  Those songs aren’t overdone if you play them three times.  It’s not forced gaity, “just because”.  The songs don’t guilt us for not living up to the Obvious Standards of Christmas Cheer.

In these songs and the story they tell – there is room for you just as you are.  Room for the broken, the bruised, the disappointed, the grieving.

It’s not about ignoring the world’s problems or pretending that our few cents in charitable gifts will solve them.  It’s not about turning the December into a month of Disneyland happiness.

There is room for the brokenhearted in the stable.

“The people walking in darkness have seen a great light.”

This is what brings the celebration and joy to Christmas, not the gifts and cookies and “holiday spirit”.

Because Christmas, the real Christmas, recognizes that we can’t force merriment by pretending grief and pain don’t exist.  Rather, it celebrates the coming of God Himself into this tired, weary, and broken world – to fix, ransom, and redeem what we can’t.

Come, thou long-expected Jesus.

I think this is why I love “O Come O Come Emmanuel” so very much.  It’s a song of yearning, a song of pain and brokenness.

“…ransom captive Israel.  That mourns in lowly exile here, until the Son of God appears.  Rejoice!  Rejoice!  Emmanuel has come to thee, O Israel.”

It’s a song of hope in the midst of suffering.  Rejoicing, because the people walking in darkness have seen a great light.  A promise that though I can’t change or fix anything, even myself, God can.  He does.  And He will.  He promises to make all things right again – right and glorious.

The world as we all inherently know it was meant to be.

B101 plays fun songs.  And I love fun songs.  But after the first round or two, they seem a bit empty to me.  And especially when compared to the weightiness of Christmas, and the almost opposite meaning that it really has.

It’s not about requiring cheeriness.  It’s knowing there is room for me in the stable, regardless of what I feel.

And I can see this but still want the commercial Christmas; I still want the beautiful tree and lights and cookies and gifts and parties.

I pray that this week – and always, really – my heart would be more focused.  Focused on the hope and promise that I cling to; fixed on the undeniable great yearning and simple wrongness of the world – and the God who came down to this broken world, who shed the glory and beauty and perfection of heaven for a poor and struggling family, a smelly stable, and a life of rejection.

Whatever you and I are experiencing this Christmas, He’s been there.  He knows.  And you are welcomed to the manger.


Entry filed under: Uncategorized.

Grace for the good girl Christmas is a war cry.

1 Comment Add your own

  • 1. abeautifulordinary  |  December 12, 2012 at 7:58 am

    I completely understand what you mean about “wintry fun” songs! I am already sick of them, mostly because I spent eight hours working on setting up Christmas decorations while someone else had on Pandora’s “Christmas” (but not really) station. 🙂 But somehow, the haunting melody of “O Come, O Come Emmanuel” or the joy in “Hark the Herald Angels Sing” never does get old. No matter how many times you hear the Christmas story, it is always, always new.


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