There have only been two posts on this blog that have resulted from a sense of compulsion to document my thoughts. One was this post about Diane Schreiner when she had her bike accident. The other post, for whatever reason, is this one.
When I became a Christian back in 1997, I knew very little about the Bible. Since I'm from Tennessee, the heart of the Bible belt, and since my parents had my brothers and me in church fairly regularly, I'd heard the gospel message on countless occasions. But whatever little knowledge I did have about Christ, I had no experience behind it. I may have been able to recite the gospel message, but nothing about that message ever compelled me…
Until, sitting alone in a pew, I heard it at a church camp. I don't remember the exact words that the youth pastor shared. But through his message, the Lord opened my eyes to three truths: 1) I was created for a purpose; 2) That purpose was to know God; and 3) Jesus was the way for me to know God. Every atom in my body said, "Yes!" to this message, and I remember experiencing an indescribable joy when I placed my faith in what Christ had done. It wasn't a purely sentimental decision; it was an irresistible one. And though sentiment is not what we Christians rely on, nothing has (or will) fulfilled me like Christ has and does. Not my husband. Not my children.
I love the fact that Jesus saved me without knowing much about Him. I love that He called me with such ignorance of his majesty, purity, and holiness, knowing that He would build on that knowledge in my years to come. What mattered most was that I knew and believed the glorious, but basic gospel message.
And one of the ways He built upon that basic gospel knowledge was through a familiar Christmas carol. I think it was the Christmas of 1998 that I heard the timeless, "O Holy Night," and the Lord opened my eyes again to behold the incredible truths within that song:
"Long lay the world in sin and error pining,
'Til He appeared and the soul felt its worth.
A thrill of hope the weary world rejoices,
For yonder breaks a new and glorious morn'.
Fall on your knees!"
I will never forget sitting in my room and listening to this song, and though I had heard this song throughout my entire life, the gospel truth of this message warmed my heart. I've never been able to listen to that song without beholding the truth that He has appeared, and my soul has felt its worth.
Now that my oldest is able to listen to song lyrics, we have Christmas music playing whenever we're home. That's pretty often, considering I stay at home with my little ones. I catch myself tearing up throughout the day as I listen to these gospel-saturated songs, and though the tears are largely due to the fact that I'm pregnant, I think they're also a result of a God-given desire to behold the beauty of Christ. And I think that's really why most people feel such strong emotions about Christmas songs: they prick our hearts and reveal a desire to welcome and behold the Creator who came to dwell with us.
I'm so grateful that He who began a good work in me will carry it to completion at the day of His coming (Philippians 1:6), and I cherish every occasion that God deepens my gratitude for what He has done, especially as I worship Him in beautifully written Christmas songs.