“Friends, why are you doing this? We too are only human, like you. We are bringing you good news, telling you to turn from these worthless things to the living God, who made the heavens and the earth and the sea and everything in them.
I recently downloaded Spotify, an online music listening software, and have been indulging in a full-fledged holiday music binge. The Nutcracker in the office first thing in the morning, Frank Sinatra and Bing Crosby singing carols in the background of my classroom, traditional Advent hymns as I drive home. It might seem mildly obsessive to my students, coworkers, and roommates, but I feel as if Christmas music has a very limited shelf life and I need to take full advantage of the holiday cheer while it’s here. If it was socially acceptable, I’d likely to listen to Christmas music year round. I think I could make a good case for it too–after all, isn’t the good news good all year long?
There isn’t any particular time or day or month when Christ is any more or less present, is there? God’s gift of his son is open to us at any moment in any season, festive music or no. And yet in every season we somehow manage to get distracted by the shopping and the presents, the work and the stress, the early mornings and late nights. We are constantly forgetful of how close God is and how much He desires our attention.
“As an ocean floods the inlets, as sunlight environs the plant, so God enfolds and enwreathes the finite spirit. There is this difference, however, inlet and plant are penetrated whether they will or not. Sea and sunshine crowd themselves in a tergo. Not so with God. He can be received only through appreciation and conscious appropriation. He comes only through doors that are purposely opened for him. A person may live as near God as the bible is to the ocean and yet not find him. He may be ‘closer than breathing, nearer than hands or feet,’ and still be missed.” –Rufus M. Jones
Unfortunately, my Spotify Christmas playlists will soon be out of season but the good news of Emmanuel, God with us, does not expire. So let us receive him. May we not miss the opportunity to turn from these worthless things to the good news in this season of advent; or on Christmas day; or during the inevitable dismantling of our decorations and detangling of our lights; or in the turning of seasons from winter to spring and spring to summer and summer to fall; or in the multitude of moments where God in his goodness is waiting to be with us, if only we’ll turn a listening ear to the knock at the door.