Christmas Down Here

I prefer to hand pick my holiday music and Downhere has written one of my favorite Christmas songs ever.  How Many Kings blew me away the first time I heard it a few years ago and I’ve never tired of listening to it.  It’s one of the only “Christmas” songs I’ll listen to during the year.   

Follow the star to a place unexpected. Would you believe, after all we’ve projected, A child in a manger?
I love how they summed up such a mysterious event in just a few simple, yet creative lyrics.  
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God is often found in the unexpected.  We don’t always make a plan to find him or even voice the desire to find him.  We’ll try everything else, except  God.  We think and ponder and make projections/plans and as we search for meaning …say wha?  It’s this simple???  We’ve gone everywhere in every direction and it’s just a kid in a feed trough??  “I need something more than this…more intelligent/bigger/cooler/complicated and definitely more hip than this.”  Really you don’t…

Driving back to Arlington after my nephew’s funeral earlier this month, I wondered (nearly aloud) how anybody could possibly deal with something so painful as what our family was experiencing devoid of personal faith.  How does a mom or dad or a twenty year-old widow deal with that type of heaviness?  Where do we go in one of those defining moments, when it is made abundantly clear that we have no say or control over all that we hold important.    

The next Sunday I was discussing my thoughts with a buddy at church and he offered this observation:  “I’ll tell you how [people deal with pain].  They get angry and bitter and mean.”  
Sadly, he is right.  I’ve watched this over and over.  Whether the experience is a lost job and crumbled career or the passing of someone very close, we tend to either cry out to God in desperation or move away from him in anger. We either allow our pain, grief and suffering to be healed, or we hold it in and allow the hurt, resentment and/or rebellion to move forward. 

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Somebody once wrote that it takes way too much faith to live as an atheist.  Although that’s a difficult statement for me to wrap my mind around, I agree with the heart of it.  I am not capable of possessing enough faith to believe that this has all happened by accident and that the longing I feel to worship God is all emotional rubbish.   
The Downhere song sums it up for me.  It’s hard to believe after everything I try to do myself, it comes down to an underage savior in someone’s livestock feeder.  An 8lb 6oz baby Jesus.  But it’s true.  Well, actually he grew up and did some amazingly impossible things for us.  But this celebration of a child born into ordinary means is just an extraordinary reminder of a truly epic plan that was put into place long ago.  And it was designed to romance us and woo our attention back to the One who actually created the plan.  
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So, this is a heavy blog post and maybe you just want Christmas trees, and warm fuzzy and shopping and family dinner.  I love that stuff, too and I think God smiles when we care about other people, love one another and spend time with our family.  But it is all icing on the cake.  Cake that is really amazing by itself and doesn’t need any icing (just like that southern “cornbread” that really tastes suspiciously like Duncan Hines).  It’s good all on its own.    

Just a few questions and thoughts to leave you with (and I didn’t write these):

How many kings step down from their thrones?
How many lords have abandoned their homes?
How many greats have become the least for me?
And how many gods have poured out their hearts
To romance a world that is torn all apart
How many fathers gave up their sons for me?


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