Merry Christmas

I pray that this Christmas brings you whatever your soul needs most.




Hugs and kisses from sweet little ones.

Laughter around a full dinner table.

Escape from hurtful words.

Release from painful pasts.

May the love and grace of our Lord Jesus shower over you this Christmas.

The worship social hour

Can I get something off my chest?

I’m trying really hard to work through my worship issues. I really am. I’m trying to acknowledge when something is my issue rather than placing blame on someone else. But sometimes, I don’t think it’s my issue. Let me share a story from last month.

The Sunday before Christmas, Drew and I took a trip to the United Methodist Church in downtown Tallahassee. There’s just something about Christmas carols on a pipe organ, and it’s become a tradition for us to find a church with one during the Christmas season. We settled into the balcony and enjoyed the view looking down at the 100 year old sanctuary. As a Bach prelude boomed out of the pipes, I closed my eyes and relished in the music of my favorite time of year.

As the service began, my attention was drawn to two women sitting a few rows in front of us. They whispered back and forth to each other. They continued all the way through the offertory, a beautiful organ and flute duet. This struck me as slightly rude, but I closed my eyes and tried to shut them out, focusing on the melody of The Coventry Carol (one of my favorites). Every time I opened my eyes, they were still whispering. I gritted my teeth, growing more annoyed with each passing minute.

I thought for sure they would stop when the offertory did. No luck. The whispering continued into the sermon, all the way to the end. I was stunned… and greatly frustrated.

I don’t think I’m too off base saying that this is incredibly rude and disruptive; rude to the people who have worked to put the service together, and disruptive to everyone around you.

I watch while people come to worship and greet neighbors during the music. They have a conversation behind someone deep in worship, or someone who is trying to be. If you politely ask them to be quiet, you’re often seen as the rude one.

Some people might think it’s okay to talk during the music. It’s not. Even if it’s an offertory or something you’re not actively participating in, it’s still an act of worship. And you’re tromping all over that person’s beautiful gift to God.

Don’t even get me started on whispering during THE ENTIRE SERMON.

C’mon, people. Yes, there is a social aspect to church, but that shouldn’t take place during the service. Don’t disrupt someone else’s worship time.

Worship should be sacred and holy. Let’s treat it as such, and start by being considerate of those around us.

Christmas music

I am old enough to remember records being played in my house while growing up. Tapes made their appearance during my childhood, but in my household, records were played on our big family stereo. I remember every December, my parents would pull out the special box of Christmas music. I vaguely remember a cartoon-like snowman across the cover of one and maybe a nutcracker emblazoned across another. The album art may not be set in my memory, but the songs that played certainly were.

I love Christmas music. My husband is not fond of the fact that I could listen to it 24/7 once Thanksgiving is over, but I spare him and try to do it when he’s not around. I could probably sing you any and every Christmas song ever written. Even the obscure verses that most people don’t know. It’s a gift, really.

Sacred Christmas songs never get old and have always seemed worshipful. I don’t know if it’s the timeless melodies or the stories behind them. I think a lot has to do with those old records that my parents pulled out and dusted off every year. They were special, sacred, and saved for once a year. I have fond memories of the fuzzy, clicking tracks on the records as they played throughout the final month of the year. I remember being intrigued by songs like Old King Wenceslas and Good Christian Men Rejoice. (I also remember being surprised in middle school to discover that Sleigh Ride had words. For years, the only version I heard was the instrumental as my sister and I galloped across the living room on our imaginary horses.)

Whatever the reason, if I hear O Little Town of Bethlehem or O Holy Night, I feel at peace. The words have depth, mystery, and they pull me in every time (well, unless it’s Mariah Carey singing them. Then I can’t change the channel fast enough.)

During Christmas, I love to hear pipe organs and orchestras pounding out the melodies and chords of these familiar songs. I do love rock bands, but during Christmas, the classical music snob in me comes out. It feels more sacred and “holy” for some reason.

I love the story of Christmas and how it’s been captured by so many songwriters throughout the years. It’s priceless.

I suppose what I’m trying to say is that I’m thankful that something that has been so special to me for so many years is still special. I’ve become jaded about a lot, but I don’t feel overly cynical or judgmental when I hear Christmas songs. That’s really refreshing for me. They simply make me smile, and for that I’m grateful.

Question: Is there a special song (Christmas or not) that has remained special to you throughout the years?