The sounds of the season are what makes Christmas come alive for me.
There are the smells of the season – with a live tree in the living room and a wreath in the hallway, the house smells of a pine forest. Along with the smell of fresh-baked Christmas cookies this past weekend, the household aromas told me we were only a week away from a magical Christmas day.
But I was raised mostly on the sounds of the season by a musician mom and an ever-patient listening dad. In other words, Christmas carols were played, sung and performed each season week after week after week until that moment in which we lit candles and sang “Silent Night, Holy Night.”
In other words, we hummed Christmas carols in our sleep.
Everyone in my family played an instrument, was in the church Christmas pageant as a kiddo – I was what my father called “a somewhat reluctant shepherd” – and that tradition was passed down to my children. Much to our excitement, it was passed down to my grandson last year as he portrayed Baby Jesus when he was just six months old. (NOTE: Apparently the acting reviews weren’t quite what we thought – Luke was not invited to reprise his role as an 18-month old.)
If you go to Facebook or YouTube for your news, you likely have seen the short video of a young lady portraying a lamb who got into a wrestling match with the older girl portraying the Virgin Mary over the doll which was being used as Baby Jesus. Needless to say, it was a show-stopper moment.
As a kid, then as a dad, I was a part of filling the house, the concert hall and the church with the sounds of Christmas.
As a musician, you play the music by ear and memory, I had played it so many times in the past. However, mom kept us from being bored by reminding us how important the music was for the season and to those listening.
“You have developed a gift for music and hearing that music played well – going through the notes – is an important part of your audience’s Christmas,” she would tell us. “Share your gift.”
It gets really crazy this time of year – but remembering the season is more important than ever. The first gift was not wrapped and had no bow. It wasn’t purchased online and nobody waited in a cash register line at a store.
The first gift was a simple gift. A sacred gift A gift of love, peace and hope.
“For God so loved the World….” reads the Book of the Apostle John chapter 3:16.
And he loved you and all of us. He gave his son.
The “Fake News You Can Use” promised in the headline above?
Well, really it was just a fake to get you to read the column. The fake news, I guess, is that Jesus of Nazareth wasn’t born on December 25. In fact, most theologists don’t always agree on the date he was born, but emphasize the meaning of his birth – and that we can share that gift. Maybe you sing in the church choir.
Maybe you coach a youth basketball team. Or, maybe you do something nice for that person who shares a smile with you every week when you go to the store.
Each of those activities, an many more each day, give you the opportunity to share your gift.
The gift of Christmas is the gift of peace, joy and loving others more than ourselves.
The “news you can use” today, and every day is that you can share the gift of christmas this season – and all year.