My favorite “Christmas” song is Madonna’s version of “Santa Baby.” It’s a surly reprieve from all the sappy, happy, holly jolly-ing, and, frankly, I like that. Judge me if you must, but I know you know all the words.
I’m ashamed that I do, too, and not because they are ridiculous (which they are), but because if you asked me to sing from memory a more legit Christmas carol like, “Away in a Manger,” I wouldn’t be able to do it. (blush)
That’s why I’ve been spending time this week studying some of the carols that celebrate Jesus’ birth. My favorite discovery so far has been this transcript from a radio broadcast Elisabeth Elliot did several years ago. In it she draws spiritual truth from “O Little Town of Bethlehem,” and I just love what she has to say about the lyric, “No ear may hear his coming, but in this world of sin, where meek souls will receive Him still, the dear Christ enters in.”
Check it out:
“Meek is a word we don’t use very much today, is it? It doesn’t mean weak. It just means humble. Now who in that little town of Bethlehem imagined the great star, recognized by the Eastern Astrologers and followed, given to guide those mysterious kings from nowhere back into obscurity. Why not with trumpet blasts? Wouldn’t you expect that the coming of the King of kings
would be with trumpet blasts, with royal proclamations and fanfare and maybe camel trains and pomp and ceremony–and who knows what other kinds of ceremony, celebration? It was a strange method for God to choose.
But God is in the business of doing things in ways we never imagine. He moves in what seems to us, twilight. In the dimness we have to make our decisions. We would like to have a star of Bethlehem to guide us, wouldn’t we? Oh, how many times I’ve wished that God would give me something as unequivocal as a star of Bethlehem, or handwriting on the wall, or a pillar of fire to guide me.
But God doesn’t do it that way, does He? Most of the time, walking by faith means walking in a certain degree of dimness where we have to make our decisions and act and obey. And it’s only the next morning that we can look back and understand.”