Christmas Traditions: Songs

I am a stickler for waiting for Christmas music until after Thanksgiving. My daughter, on the other hand, could play it year round if I would let her. My favorites include all those classic Christmas tunes: Bing Crosby, Andy Williams, and Karen Carpenter’s velvet tones. There’s even a great non-traditional song by Trisha Yearwood that hits me in all the feels, “It Wasn’t His Child.” Coming from a blended family, this one absolutely slays me.
In a year that sometimes feels as if it has taken more than it has given, I find myself drawn to the mournful sounds of songs like “O Come, O Come, Emmanuel.” Those lyrics are where I’ve been living for awhile now.
“O come, o come, Emmanuel,
And ransom captive Israel
that mourns in lonely exile here
until the Son of God appear.
Rejoice, rejoice, Emmanuel
shall come to thee, o Israel.”
Anyone else feel like we’ve been living in exile for awhile now? My heart cries out this Christmas season for deliverance from this lonely exile we are in. I miss people. I miss hugs. I miss seeing faces. I miss pizza parties and Christmas parties and team parties. I want to escape, to find a place where life feels normal again, but there is no escape right now. We are all held captive.
The second verse hits me just as hard.
“O come, thou Day-Spring, come and cheer
our spirits by Thine Advent here.
Disperse the gloomy clouds of night
And death’s dark shadows put to light.
Rejoice, rejoice, Emmanuel
shall come to thee, o Israel.”
Gloomy clouds of night and death’s dark shadows. If ever there were words to describe so much of what’s happening in our world, these are it.  I’ve always loved this song, but this year, it seems somehow… more. And while the melancholy strains are the cry of my soul, the best part of the song is the promise: Rejoice, o Israel. Emmanuel has come. He will rescue us from this exile in a distant land. He brings hope. He is God with us, and his name is Jesus. Praise be to God.
Find my Christmas playlist here.

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