Comfort and Joy

Paul Soulek

Christmas, Christmas time is near
Time for toys and time for cheer
We've been good, but we can't last
Hurry Christmas, hurry fast

I love Alvin and the Chipmunks as much as the next guy. But hearing "Christmas time is near" makes me think of the endless to-do lists and stress that often mark this season. Real Christmas music doesn't direct us to holiday-themed, liturgically colored overfunctioning. It replaces "Do this!" with "It is finished!" Take a quick journey down a road of comfort and joy...

"You came to share my misery that You might share Your joy with me." No reindeer or elves are included in Luther's Christmas hymn From Heaven Above to Earth I Come (LSB 358). God's love in Christ faces real challenges in a real world (Hebrews 4:14-16).

Irish hymn writer Cecil Frances Alexander served in charitable homes for the sick and destitute, so it's no surprise that her hymn Once in Royal David's City points out "With the poor and mean and lowly Lived on earth our Savior holy." We sing that Christ dwells only with sinners. We qualify (Luke 5:27-32).

"For me. For me. For me. And not alone for me." Twentieth century hymn writer Jaroslav Vajda places us in the middle of the Christmas story in his hymn Where Shepherds Lately Knelt (LSB 369). The first half of each stanza describes part of the birth of Jesus--and the second half speaks of Jesus for you (Ephesians 2:8-9).

During this season, like any other, we sing and confess finished and completed work of Jesus. Amidst all of this time's to-dos, He is our comfort and joy--our strength, our song, and our salvation. It is finished.

O sing of Christ, whose birth made known The kindness of the Lord,
Eternal Word made flesh and bone So we could be restored.
Upon our frail humanity God's finger chose to trace
The fullness of His deity, The icon of His grace.
(LSB 362:1)

Paul Soulek serves as cantor at St. John Church and School, Seward, Nebraska.

Created: January 5th, 2016