It didn’t take too long before I began to realize that my first reaction might not be the most fitting response to this incident. If you are going to sing about the “holiday” at some point you are going to run into a problem. Some of those secular songs are nice, sentimental and nostalgic tunes, but everyone knows that the towering musical giants this time of year are O Come, All Ye Faithful, The First Noel, Joy To The World, O Holy Night and Silent Night, along with others of that vein. In short, Christmas songs that are actually about Christmas, which is to say, about Christ. No matter how hard you try, if you take those songs out of your holiday repertoire it will feel like something is missing and it won’t be a little thing. So it is hardly surprising that someone was going to try to include those songs without actually including their real message.
The problem is, our society by and large doesn’t want to acknowledge that it even needs a connection with God, and it certainly doesn’t want to admit that such connection comes through Jesus. It doesn’t want to admit the love, the togetherness, the hope, the peace and the joy come through Jesus. It just wants to have that sense of being somehow connected, a sense of togetherness and love, that peace, joy and hope without bringing Jesus into the picture. Unfortunately all of those things are results of a cause. Jesus is the cause that brings them about. Take him out and all you have is the unmet longing for those things.
When I was growing up our family had two almond trees in our backyard that produce large amounts of nuts. I could go out in the yard, pick up almonds that had fallen off the tree, crack open the shells and eat the nuts to my heart’s content. Occasionally I would open one to find there was no nut inside the shell, just some fuzzy looking stuff. That’s a little bit like so many people in our culture. They have these longings I mentioned and they have this sense that Christmas has something to do with them. In fact it somehow seems to intensify them and bring them to the surface. But they have removed the very part of Christmas that can begin to bring fulfillment to those longings. In effect, they’ve removed the nut and all they have left is some fuzzy stuff that can never satisfy them.
As I realized this my perspective on this Silent Night debacle began to change. I began to see that what I ought to feel for those who do such things is pity. They want what the coming of Christ is intended to bring them so desperately. They feel it deep within them. They cannot escape it, and they feel it most strongly in this season of the year. So they’ll have their concerts and their Christmas shows while carefully avoiding any mention of Jesus, and the whole thing will leave them more empty and with more frustrated longings than ever. So my response to this should be to pray for those people, to feel for them, to do all I can to help them find what they need in Jesus, and maybe most of all, to give thanks to God for he has rescued me. He has brought me to himself through his Son, Jesus, and in doing so given me the hope, the love, the connection with him I so desperately need, the peace and the joy that we all desire. I can rejoice in the fact that because of Jesus all truly is calm, all is bright, and I can sleep in heavenly peace.