I heard something as I walked in the store. I could not believe it. The door shut behind me and I just stood there listening to the music. It was the third of November in Salina, Kansas. The lady at the counter looked at me, smiled and asked if I needed anything. ”How long have you been playing Christmas music in the store?” I asked. “Since the first of the month,” she shared. ”Isn’t it beautiful! Christmas is just around the corner now.” We both smiled and nodded in agreement.
While one might expect retailers and restaurants to play the typical songs about snowmen, reindeer, bells jingling, shiny wrapping paper, or enjoying a snow laden landscape this music was different. This music was even different from most radio stations. This music described a holy night when our Savior was born. A night when angels proclaimed the birth of our King. A night when the thrill of hope arrives and a weary world rejoices. A new and glorious night that transformed the world because He has finally arrived. The night that delivered Jesus, the Christ, the promised redeemer of the world.
The music itself didn’t stop me in my tracks. It was the message of the music. It seemed to transform the entire store into a happy and joyful place. People couldn’t help but smile at each other, customers and employees alike. The store was transformed into a glorious place where people were happy and at peace. Each person reminded of God’s gift to us.
In my state of surprise or perhaps shock, I also took in what was not happening in the store. No one was complaining about “religious” music being played on a store sound system. No one was offended with the message. No one organized a sit in or demonstration. No one organized a letter writing campaign to the head office as a protest. Instead, you saw people everywhere who expected to hear Christmas music. People heard the music and the message. We were in turn blessed, renewed, and changed. The music was a gift.
Christmas music matters. It is more than an assortment of notes and chords. It is a tremendous reminder of truth. It shares and teaches the promise of Scripture. It is a form of worship in that we can use music to offer prayer and praise to God. It transforms people. It allows heavenly changes to take place in our hearts, minds, and souls when the gift is received.
Joy and singing do not always come easily. Many can only focus on dark days and personal struggles. As we enter the Advent season, let us hear the songs of promise and respond to the heavenly gift of Jesus. Since God has faithfully delivered the Messiah, we too have reason to sing and rejoice. May we continue to lift up our voices and share in the heavenly chorus that proclaimed the birth of our Savior.