Saturday, December 25, 2021

Fa La La La La, La La, La, La!

As a Jewish girl at Christmas, I often sang Christmas carols during school assemblies and at friends' homes. Some of these carols puzzled me. Particularly Deck the Halls.

No one had ever shared the Gospel with me, but I gathered that Christians believed baby Jesus was a God, and that for some reason He'd later died and come back to life. 

{side note: don't ever assume that someone knows the Gospel. I grew up in the midwest, surrounded by church goers, none of whom EVER mentioned to me that Jesus was the promised Jewish Messiah, by whose stripes we would be healed.}

Anyhoo. Even though I didn't really get it, and even though I thought people who did believe it were a bit looney, it struck me as odd that such profound beliefs would be celebrated by singing happy-go-lucky nonsense words and being "jolly." Those lyrics spoke to me more about Santa than Jesus, since I didn't know the gospel story. {Also, the whole Santa thing really confused me.}

And so, on this side of my salvation moment, I've never been particularly fond of those kinds of cultural Christmas carols. Please don't post heresy comments about me over this. Let's just consider it one of those "unity in essentials, charity in non-essentials" things. 

Even so, I somehow ended up buying this shirt {in the photo} a couple years ago, and it's become my go-to holiday garb. Maybe I'm relaxing a bit in my middle age.

In fact, yesterday {while driving back home unexpectedly from our family Christmas trip because of a covid exposure} Deck the Halls came on the radio and my irritation turned to wonder over one line.

Don we now our gay apparel, fa la la la la, la la, la, la

Has it ever struck anyone else as mind-blowing that we sing about gaily donning party garb to celebrate that the One clothed in immortal Light shed His royal garments and donned poor human flesh? Mortal flesh that would bruise and blister, cut and bleed, be stripped and pierced?

I know it wasn't Thomas Oliphant's intent when he penned those lyrics, but this sing-song line has cut me to the core in wonder and worship. 

And also in self-examination. {Show me, Lord, where I celebrate you in happy hypocrisy.}

I still prefer worship carols like O Come Emmanuel or O Holy Night or O Little Town of Bethlehem {basically all the "O" carols}, but my Fa La La shirt has taken on new meaning, and I'm realizing that God can reveal truth in unexpected ways.

So I wish you a Happy Incarnation Day, no matter what carols you sing!