Don’t you just love Christmas people? You know the ones. Those people who are full of cheer and happy thoughts. They are this way all year but Christmas is their time. They really get to shine.
Our church has four Christmas Carols. Four wise women who are all born in the month of December. Their parents named them after the special kind of song we sing at this time of year. These women are like four pillars of joy that hold up the church’s roof. They always have something positive to say. They are always smiling and ready to offer comfort and encouragement. Their lives are Carols to the Lord of Hosts who brings light and joy into the dark days of December.
We have an abundance of Christmas people at our church. But it strikes me that every Carol is also a Christmas person.
A good sized choir will have four parts for different voices. While the main message gets carried along by the happy sopranos of joy, the bass line lays down the other end of the spectrum. “Suf-fer-ing, Suf-fer-ing, Suf-fer-ing, Suf-fer-ing is the steady bottom line. The high notes of joy are rooted to earth by the steady turn of day by day, year by year inescapable suffering in the world.
Tenors sing “it could be worse.” and the Altos sing “not bad, can’t complain,” to fill in the middle notes. These are the practical ones. Somewhere in between the down and out basses and the up and up sopranos, they live where most of us find ourselves most of the time.
Personally, I can’t get through most of the hymns we sing in church without changing octaves. I guess that’s kind of the way I get through Christmas. Mostly I’m a tenor but as the song climbs higher I have to drop down. For some reason, the shepherd in me makes me drop back and look for the stragglers; those who aren’t skipping ahead, those who are hurting and sad and stuck. I turn away from happy jingles to songs with a steady slow-driving beat and a wailing, hurting melody. The Blues is a healing salve for me. It’s where I live a good part of the season.
I am married to a Christmas Carol. As the days get darker, she gets brighter. As her husband gets moodier, she gets decorating (she’d stick a poinsettia in my hair if she could.) She is inspiring. Carol has as many, if not more, reasons to get down as I do. Life has dealt her more than her share of bass notes. But she keeps singing.
Last Christmas, Alana brought home a friend to spend the holydays with us. Her comment to Alana as she was leaving was “Your mom is always singing.”
Christmas people are like that. From somewhere inside there bubbles a joy that can’t be suppressed. In spite of the news that tells us there is too much suffering and not enough contentment, Christmas people keep singing. Their high notes carry the season, carry the hope, carry the rest of us in the choir forward into a new day.