Whether turning points or new starts, I’m beginning to understand that it is more about the perspective we bring to a given moment that allows us to see our lives anew. For me, this is one of the most redeeming virtues of Christianity; that we are baptized again and again in our faith journey.
My wife and I are constantly searching for ways to convey the power of this season through traditions. True, they cannot grasp the full message of Christmas. What they can understand is that each and every year, as a family, we gather around certain occasions to celebrate the coming of Jesus Christ. This past weekend, there were two such events which, in tandem, speak powerfully to me and have provided this urge to write.
First, as a reward for their consistent good behavior over the Thanksgiving Holiday Tour we took, we treated our two older children to “The Star”. An animated movie from taken from the perspective of Boaz, or “Bo”, the donkey in the manger scene of the Nativity; “The Star” was a crash course of the events that lead to the birth of Christ in Bethlehem for my children. Startlingly accurate for a meeting of Hollywood and Christianity, “The Star” was an excellent choice to reign in Advent Season. It featured, among other things, an amazing soundtrack, among its tracks a copious amount of my favorite songs. As the music played and the video rolled, my mind’s eye was busy envisioning moments around our Christmas tree as a kid, at holiday parties with friends and family, warmed by the assurance God’s birth provided for me. I can still close my eyes and see myself on a plush lounge chair, enshrouded in a blanket, warmed by hot chocolate in hand, held in the golden light of the Christmas tree as my father’s music collection melodiously filled the air with words and sounds of joy. I was inspired in that moment to collect some of those songs and play them for my children.
Second, as we strung lights and unwrapped stashed ornaments from last year’s Season, my very own playlist ebbed through the room – this time as father and curator of the soul-filling experiences to which I was so blessed to be a part. Among my father’s favorites, and by transference and common experience, my own is the Christian A Capella group Glad. Glad has a series of albums dedicated to Christmas. Among them include a track called In The First Light. This song explores the reality of Christ existing before anyone knew, aside from his parents, that He was to give His life for the salvation of man. It juxtaposes the heavens with the earth. It talks of a baby, not yet speaking, being the Word of God to man. They would hate Him, it says, and in anger, they would nail Him to a tree. The song foretells of our failures. The song foretells of the futility of those failures in the face of Christ’s Love. The song is beautiful.
Beyond its soothing words and rhythm, it fills me with a sense that at any moment, we can alert ourselves to Christ’s presence and begin again. In a world where failing is constant, feared and often chastised, Jesus gives us a new deal. One where we can attain permanent Joy and Happiness through Him. If our collective sins were the force that drove the spike into Christ’s wounds, our Advent wonder is the Light that exudes beyond which daylight can provide. Regardless of the nature of our crimes, Christ offers us salvation through Him. He offers us the opportunity to begin anew; to be filled by His Love and forever be held in golden light. What a wonderful time.
Yours in the Pursuit of Happiness,