You were born and I will celebrate!

I realized last week that the juxtaposition of my thoughts on The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe and what this year’s Advent theme is teaching me made for an interesting contrast. In my Narnia post, I was lamenting the lack of magic in the movie, especially compared to the book. While I also love realistic fiction, there’s a special place in my heart for fairy tales, and I am glad to say that I never outgrew them. I like believing in that kind of magic, that it’s just under the surface waiting to be discovered. I like keeping a sense of wonder about the world, and I think fairy tales help me to do that.

And yet, when it comes to my faith and Christmas, I often approach those things in a clinical way. I talked in that post about needing to see Christmas with fresh eyes because I get so jaded and cynical. However, when I read the Bible, I don’t see God operating by some formula. I see him creating humans from the dust and parting the Red Sea and sending fire down from heaven. And what are the things that we celebrate this time of year? A virgin gave birth to the Son of God! Yesterday during the children’s sermon, our pastor was telling the kids about the Annunciation. I turned to Mike and said, “This stuff we believe? It’s crazy! But I love believing it.” I don’t want to approach my faith or the Christmas season in a detached way. I want to embrace the fact that God chose to send his son to earth in this crazy way, and that we should celebrate.

At church yesterday, one of our friends read this poem, and it brought all those things I’d been pondering the past few days to the surface.

O Lord, you were born! by Ann Weems

Each year about this time I try to be sophisticated
and pretend I understand the bored expressions
relating to the “Christmas spirit.”
I nod when they say “Put the Christ back in Christmas.”
I say yes, yes when they shout “Commercial” and
“Hectic, hectic, hectic.”

After all, I’m getting older,
and I’ve heard it said, “Christmas is for children.”
But somehow a fa-la-la keeps creeping out.
So I’ll say it:
I love Christmas tinsel
and angel voices that come from the beds upstairs.
And I say three cheers for Santa Claus
and the Salvation Army bucket
and all the wrappings and festivities
and special warm feelings.
I say it is good,

So hooray for Christmas trees
and candlelight
and the good old church pageant.
Hooray for shepherd boys who forget their lines
and Wise Men whose beards fall off
and a Mary who giggles.
O Lord, you were born!

O Lord, you were born!
And that breaks in upon my ordered life like bugles blaring,
And I sing, “Hark, the Herald Angels”
In the most unlikely places.
You were born and I will celebrate!

I rejoice for the carnival of Christmas!
I clap for the pajama-clad cherubs
And the Christmas cards jammed in the mail slot.
I o-o-oh for the turkey
And a-a-ah for the Christmas pudding.
And thank God for the alleluias I see in the faces of people
I don’t know and yet know very well.

O Lord, there aren’t enough choirboys to sing what I feel.
There aren’t enough trumpets to blow.
O Lord, I want bells to peal!
I want to dance in the streets of Bethlehem!
I want to sing with the heavenly host!

For unto us a son was given
And he was called God with us!
For those of us who believe,
The whole world is decorated with love!

So, this is the last week before Christmas. I’m going to read with Mike as Elisabet and the angels, Wise Men, sheep, and shepherds travel back in time toward Bethlehem. I’m going to sing along with Christmas music and turn off all the lights except the ones on the Christmas tree and spend time with friends and family and sing “Silent Night” on Christmas Eve by candlelight with the congregation and drink hot chocolate and exchange presents and rejoice! For the Lord was born in Bethlehem!

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