by Bekah Vickers
The rustle of wings and murmur of song is deafening, the anticipation palpable. The Fullness of Time has arrived! The night has come! He has left His Father’s side and will now be born in human form. Heaven’s coup d’etat!
Messengers beg to be chosen. Let us tell them! Let us sing the announcement for all to hear!
But God will not allow it; mankind must trust the word of the Son rather than the angels.
But please! We cannot let the moment pass without singing! They will not know – they are only human!
Perhaps just once… perhaps just one group – a small group… a humble crowd, that will not twist this treasure for their own glory…
YES! Pick me! Let us go! We are ready!
There are a handful of shepherds, faithfully at watch tonight. They will be nearby, and they can bear witness when He is born.
And which of us shall go? Gabriel, again? Please, please send us, too…
No, I think, not just Gabriel. You may go as well. You may all go. But choose just one speaker; they are only human, after all.
And all at once, the rush of angels’ wings and then silence. In a twinkling, the host has abandoned its heavenly realm and now hastens to find these shepherds. They try without success to contain their joy, that it might not light up the night as day, and fill the silent night with the echoes of their praises.
We have chosen to include songs with each of our meditations because we believe that songs are powerful, and we love the songs of this season. As a child, I remember the joy of riding a big blue bus with my family and our church college group, visiting church members around town with our cheerful carols and holy hymns – and perhaps a few rounds of Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer. My oldest son Luke learned his very first Christmas carol when he was still a toddler; we spent many months into that New Year enjoying his “Glo-o-o-o-o-o-o-o-o-o-o-o-o-o-o-o-ria!” of Angels We Have Heard on High. And I cannot count the number of times I’ve sung these verses in cold, foul-smelling nursing home halls, a small group of us smiling and projecting our voices as if to shine light into every lonely corner of those oft-forgotten places. My grandfather passed away one January after he’d spent all of December feebly grinning and nodding along to a dog that barked Jingle Bells. We all loathed the song by the end of that Christmas – and threatened to destroy the dog – but now the memory is as precious as every moment spent with that dear man.
There are so many beautiful carols written about the birth of Christ, and I always think it’s a shame that there isn’t time in our worship schedule to sing all of them – and that we often neglect to sing them every other month of the year. These songs, many of them sung throughout ages, and some of them brand new but no less holy, have become so synonymous with Christmas that they themselves bring in the season (albeit sometimes as early as September), drifting in the air of department stores and mounting a steady invasion of all our radio stations and playlists. Even if the act of caroling itself has largely gone by the wayside, the songs remain and continue to stir our hearts and command our attention. It is one of the strongest ties that endures between the secular and Christian world during this season.
It makes sense that we cannot truly celebrate the Nativity without song. The angels themselves chose this very means to deliver the birth announcement of Christ; surely we can do no less. May our songs, like the angels’, point the way to the Christ-child, and remind the world of His Glory. May they bring Him praise and honor and glory and power forever and ever. And may the rush of angels wings accompany us as we welcome the Savior into our world.