Let's see...2 days before Thanksgiving, my pug died. Two days before Christmas, the family gets the flu and I get stuck with a head cold. The holiday season this year was just out to get me, I think.
I love the Christmas season. So happy, cheerful, and full of joy and anticipation. Advent is one of my favorite times of the year- to sit and wait in anticipation for the arrival of Christmas, the celebration of Christ's birth. It's usually a beautiful, reverent time of the year.
I just couldn't get into it this year. Any of it- the Christmassy stuff or the advent-y stuff. Well, I take that back; I did get into the Christmas spirit... in November. You know, before Christmas. Then I lost it.
I think a good mix of things contributed to this- losing Sebastian so suddenly, school stress, finals (don't even get me started on my online class... I'm still quite bitter about it), and overall just not ready to come home to a pug-less house. I was pretty down and out.
Somehow, I muddled through... but that's all I could do. I couldn't get into it, at all. I listened to Christmas music (ad nauseam), got excited about buying Christmas presents, wrapped said Christmas presents, helped bake Christmas cookies- but nothing really got me into the spirit of it, really.
If anything, the one thing that's made any dent in my spirit is music. I wrote last year about a non-Christmas carol that I fell in love with, the same thing happened this year- even when I wasn't feeling it.
It's only for irony's sake that it happened to be a Dave Barnes song. Seriously. Gotta love it. The song, "When Love Was Born", is off his newest Christmas album... the one I bought and started listening to on Halloween. (Don't judge). The whole album is awesome, but this song got to me.
(Blogspot's Youtube app was being goofy and wouldn't show the video of the song, so here's a link to it.): http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ait7AaljIc0
I watched an interview where he said the song was based off of Mary Did You Know?, (which has quickly become a favorite of mine), but from Joseph's perspective. The lyrics are so thoughtful:
Did you calm the One that would calm the storm,Or did he calm you when Love was born?
Was it a silent night?
Could you hear heaven sigh?
Giving this gift of love, saving you, saving us.
Could you hear the angels sing?
Did you rock to sleep the restless King?
Did you kiss the head where they placed the thorns?
Did you feel that sting when love was born?Do you think He knew what He came here for?
'Cause The whole world changed when love was born.
When love was born. He wasn't just a baby born in a manger- he was love personified, Love in the flesh- and His love flipped our world upside down. At least He's flipped my world upside down (and is still continuing to do so). Unto us a child is born- a child that brings us nothing but the love of God to spread to his sons and daughters.
So we have come to know and to believe the love that God has for us. God is love, and whoever abides in love abides in God, and God abides in him. 1 John 4:16
I've been talking about love a lot here lately. It's been what's on my heart and mind through this season of life, apparently. I love this thought of love being born- the anticipation, the joy at its arrival, the happiness and excitement new life brings. That's exactly what Jesus does- brings new life, a life of joy and love- when we choose to seek Him. He was born that night to do just that- bring love into a broken, lowly world. He's still doing that today, but on that first night, the night of his arrival- he truly brought a new love into the world. I wonder if, as the song says, if He knew- did he know he was going to do miracles? Raise from the dead? Bring a new, love-saturated way of thinking for the world? I don't know, but I know that it's exactly what He did and more- he arrived and the world changed.
The wonderfully wise Bob Goff said this today: "After today in Bethlehem, love had a new name; it meant we didn't have to be who we used to be anymore."Love has a new name. Love, as God made it, was born, and is alive still today- all because of Jesus' birth that holy night. And His love changed the world that night, but more importantly: his love changes us. It's still changing us. It's changing me. I know it is, even when I don't feel it, or understand it.
He changed the world before He took a step or said a world- He changed the world by simply being. All because of a helpless babe born in a manger, the world as it was known was forever changed- and forever fully loved.
And if there's anything that could give me a glimmer of joy this season, it's remembering why we celebrate- because that love was born.
"I Celebrate The Day"- Relient K (my favorite Christmas song)