8 In that region there were shepherds living in the fields, keeping watch over their flock by night. 9 Then an angel of the Lord stood before them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were terrified. 10 But the angel said to them, “Do not be afraid; for see—I am bringing you good news of great joy for all the people: 11 to you is born this day in the city of David a Savior, who is the Messiah, the Lord. 12 This will be a sign for you: you will find a child wrapped in bands of cloth and lying in a manger.” 13 And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host, praising God and saying, 14 “Glory to God in the highest heaven, and on earth peace among those whom he favors!”
– Luke 2:8-14, NRSV
“Glo – – – – rious, in ex-lel-see way-o!” Ellie sang at the top of her lungs.
It’s Ellie’s way of singing the refrain of “Angels We Have Heard on High,” with its florid “Glo – – – – ria, in excelsis Deo!”
Christmas hymns in the season of Easter. It seems my Ellie has her Christian festival seasons mixed up… but then, that’s nothing new for us. This past Christmas, when we took the kiddos to visit my parents for the holiday, Ellie persuaded her Grammy to set up an Easter egg hunt. Yes, on December 25. Doesn’t everyone celebrate the birth of our Lord with a basket of shiny eggs underneath the tree?
So for the LaBar family, Christmas hymns in the season of Easter is about par for the course. Now, I could try to tell her that it’s the season of Easter, not the season of Christmas. I could try to tell her that it’s a time for “Christ the Lord is Risen Today” more than “Angels We Have Heard on High.” I could try to tell her that it’s the season to look towards Jerusalem’s empty tomb rather than Bethlehem’s angel-filled skies. I could try to tell her… but it would do no good. She’d just sing all the louder.
Besides, in the midst of this season of coronavirus, I don’t think I want to dampen her Christmas joy. During this season of coronavirus, I think we need all the joy we can get… and the joy of Christmas, with its message of “Emmanuel! God is with us!” is some pretty incredible joy indeed.
So have at it, church. Let Christmas in for a day. After all, it’s always Christmas in Bethlehem, and God is always with us. So whip up a batch of your favorite Christmas cookies. Watch Miracle on 34th Street or It’s a Wonderful Life. Sing “Glo – – – – ria in excelsis Deo!” at the top of your lungs. We need all the joy we can get right now, whether it’s the joy of a tomb that is empty or a manger that is full.
And bless others with that good news of great joy, too. After all:
Our God is bigger than coronavirus.
Our vision is bigger than coronavirus, too.
We are people blessing people.
We are Wesley Church.
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