Last Sunday, Lenora referenced "Love Came Down at Christmas," a beautiful Christmas carol penned by Christina Rossetti. Another Rossetti composition, "In the Bleak Midwinter," is one of the carols we most look forward to singing during the Christmas season. The haunting melody alone is deeply moving. The lyrics help remind us that, in the coming of Jesus, God enters human history in an astonishing way. Rather than full page ads, trending tweets, or facebook posts, God apparently sends messengers to two unlikely candidates to let them know what is about to happen--a young, unmarried teenager who will be the child's mother and the man who will be asked to keep his commitment to marry the girl. Then, instead of first night accommodations at the Embassy Suites, the family gets a dirty barn with a feeding trough for a baby bed:
"In the bleak midwinter a stable place sufficed the Lord God Almighty, Jesus Christ."
What a strange way to save the world.
Once the carol has captured our attention with its stark description of the setting, it does not allow us to simply be nostalgic. The song urges us to consider our own response to the birth of the Son of God. "What can I give him...?" This is the question to which we return year after year as we approach Christmas. In Jesus Christ, God has given everything. What will we give in return? Part of the answer is unique to each of us, based on the different ways God has gifted and blessed us. But if we are to offer our best, the song points us to one answer that we will all share:
"What I can I give him...I will give my heart."
We look forward to seeing you this weekend as together we offer our hearts and lives in worship. Remember, there will be 5 worship opportunities on Christmas Eve: 3pm children's, 4:30pm traditional, 6:30pm contemporary, 9:30pm blended (Sonlight concert begins at 9pm), and 11pm traditional in the chapel. Then join us on Christmas morning at 10am for ONE worship service - an experience for all ages that will include lots of Christmas carols and a blessing of the toys.