Have I offended everyone's sensibilities yet? :)
So I have been trying, this year, to simply take it all in stride, and let it be a cheery, happy, empty time and enjoy it for what it is, and not get angry about it's violation of the depth and meaning and wonder and beauty of God with us, coming to earth to take on human flesh, live a human life, feel pain, sorrow, emptiness, joy, peace, relationship and love and ultimately die an excruciating death so that we might be reconciled to Him.
Trying, I emphasize...
So, in this attempt to cheer myself, I have been playing Christmas music lately, and trying to "get into the Christmas spirit". As such, as I was driving to Arlington tonight to spend time with my mom, step-dad and brother for Christmas, I had my Christmas music playlist on. It primarily consists of Future of Forestry's "Advent Christmas EP" (Thanks to Harlan, btw, for introducing me to my new favorite band), Bebo Norman's "Christmas... From the Realms of Glory", Shane & Shane's "Glory in the Highest", and Sufjan Stevens' "Songs for Christmas" (Volumes 1-5), as well a few random singles.
And, for the first time ever, I was brought to tears by a Christmas song, driving down the road.
It could be my tumultuous last 6 months that seem to have come to a head the past few weeks, but as I was listening to Future of Forestry's version of "Little Drummer Boy" something about the honesty of the song really hit me. I think I had to hear it without the connotation of it's normal packaging... a somewhat wooden thing really focused around a military drum sound. The FoF version was more melodic in nature, and I, for the first time, really listened to the words.
I will eliminate the "pa rum pum pums" to illustrate my point better:
Come they told me,
A new born King to see,
Our finest gifts we bring,
To lay before the King,
So to honor Him,
When we come.
I am a poor boy too,
I have no gift to bring,
That's fit to give the King,
Shall I play for you,
On my drum?
The ox and lamb kept time,
I played my drum for Him,
I played my best for Him,
Then He smiled at me,
Me and my drum
Did you see it? Can you visualize the story? I know it's just a song, but could you just imagine? That little boy is all of us!! A poor boy sitting with his only possession, his livelihood perhaps? Maybe just a little toy drum? And people come up to us... so excited... "We're going to see the newborn King! We've got all this finery, all of this expensive stuff to give Him so we can honor Him when we get there."
Oh, and the beauty of this little child! He is so deserving of the finest of everything... but then, the sadness hits our little heart. We have nothing to give him. Oh, the shame! He is so deserving of honor, but we have nothing... except, maybe all that we have... "can I play for Him, ma'am? I'm not very good, but it's all I can do."
His beautiful mother, so kind and full of grace, nods her head slightly with a quiet smile, and we start playing... "pa rum pa pum pum... pa rum pa pum pum... pa rum pa pum pum". Her smile broadens. The animals even start getting into it... we can almost hear an orchestra start playing along in our head... it seems like the universe is accompanying our pathetic attempt at playing our little toy drum. But is all we know how to do, so we play that little toy drum the best that we can.
And, as we look into the baby's solemn eyes, those eyes that somehow hold the vastness of time and yet the most intimate love, He looks up at us, and smiles.