The Christian radio station I listen to “gets it.” They have been playing Christmas music all December long. ALL December. The secular stations go back to their playlist on December 26, and I’m sure the DJs are thrilled. They don’t realize that the Christmas season, at least liturgically, does not run Thanksgiving through Christmas Day. For those who celebrate the birth of the Savior, December 25 is just the start of the Christmas season. It ends 12 days after Christmas, on Epiphany, when we celebrate the visit of the Magi – an early foreshadowing that this Savior was born not just for the “chosen people” of the Hebrew nation, but for all people in all corners of the world.
So, my radio station has continued to play Christ-centered Christmas music and extended the holiday for me. This is the first year I’ve listened to the station during the Christmas season, and I have to admit, I am experiencing less of that post-holiday let-down than I have in years past.
There are two fantastic arrangements by Casting Crowns that I’d like to highlight – Joyful, Joyful and I Heard The Bells On Christmas Day. They are kind of “old school” carols, and chances are you are familiar with them. But the lyrics of these songs have been set to different music, which makes me stop and actually hear them with new ears.
I hope you enjoy them as much as I do.
I Heard The Bells has now become my favorite Christmas carol. This holiday becomes increasingly bittersweet with each passing year, and never more so than this year in the wake of some terrible violence in our country, especially the senseless loss of life in Connecticut. I know I’m not alone in finding Christmas to be a difficult holiday to endure, especially when the secular world is painting it as “the most wonderful time of the year.”
I took my pain to God in prayer, and He reminded me that He, too, was born into a world of terrible violence and terror. I saw in my heart the unjust death He endured. This song, especially this arrangement of it, has given me a peace in knowing that even though we all must continue to fight and sometimes fail the battles in this earthly existence, the war has already been won.