Hmm. Christmas. Pause with me to consider it. Immanuel, God with us.
No mention here of the virus-which-must-not-be-named. Nothing but deflections of election-selection reflections.
In our family Christmas mailing, we don’t have an update-newsy-letter this year. (Pat, instead of a vowel, may I buy a hyphen please before solving the puzzle and continuing this letter.) Much of our year was probably like yours. More time at home. Many important events disrupted. Some fun postponed. Traditions altered. Health scares or wondering if we should be scared. Some angst. A reprieve from the busy lives we often lead.
I’m more serious in some ways this year rather than witty. (Please suppress the notion that I am ‘half-witted.’) More serious, but also more joyful. Joy is what Christmas is reminding me of. The Lord is come, as the carol, Joy to the World, reminds us.
Joy to the world. Tweak the “to” preposition to bring more Christmas meaning: Joy into the world. Joy for the world. Joy beyond the world.
As I have been singing carols recently in prayer time, I have focused on certain phrases. When they are removed from the carol, away from where we regularly repeat them from memory, their truth stands alone with freshness:
Let ev’ry heart prepare Him room (1st verse, Joy to the World)
A thrill of hope, a weary world rejoices (1st verse, O Holy Night)
With the dawn of redeeming Grace
Jesus, Lord at thy birth (3rd verse, Silent Night, Holy Night)
Pleased as man with men to dwell,
Jesus our Immanuel (2nd verse, Hark The Herald Angels Sing)
Then pealed the bells more loud and deep:
“God is not dead nor does he sleep;
The wrong shall fail,
The right prevail
With peace on earth, good-will to men.” (4th verse, I heard the Bells on Christmas Day)
Awwww, Merry Christmas, everybody. (Last random words in Al Green’s soul version, The First Noel)