I am always amazed by the Christmas story when I actually think about it. If I don't think about it, it becomes a glazed over religious tradition that gets stuck in the middle of Christmas shopping and cooking and cleaning, etc. But when I actually think about it, just the fact that the shepherds were the first people to hear about the birth of Jesus is pretty amazing since they were nobody to society. The fear and awe of seeing angels in the dark sky with the glory of the Lord shining on them would be pretty weird, crazy and just plain awesome.
And there were shepherds living out in the fields nearby, keeping watch over their flocks at night. An angel of the Lord appeared to them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were terrified.
But the angel said to them,
"Do not be afraid.
I bring you good news of great joy
that will be for all the people.
Today in the town of David a Savior has been born to you;
he is Christ the Lord.
This will be a sign to you:
You will find a baby wrapped in cloths and lying in a manger."
Suddenly a great company of the heavenly host appeared with the angel,
praising God and saying.
"Glory to God in the highest,
and on earth peace to men on
whom his favor rests."
When the angels had left them and gone into heaven, the shepherds said to one another,
"let's go to Bethlehem and see this thing that has happened,
which the Lord has told us about."
So they hurried off and found Mary and Joseph, and the baby,
who was lying in the manger.
When they had seen him, they spread the word concerning what had been told them about this child,
and all who heard it were amazed at what the shepherds said to them.
But Mary treasured up all these things and pondered them in her heart.
The shepherds returned,
glorifying and praising God
for all the things they had heard and seen,
which were just as they had been told.
David Crowder Band is one of my all time favorite Christian Artists. He doesn't have an angelic voice. He doesn't speak 'Christianese'. He just exudes joy. Joy in the form of a guy with hair sticking out all over and funny glasses and a quirky sense of humor (My son-in-law Dan looks like him!).
I downloaded his Christmas album (for $6.99!) from itunes this past week. At first listen, I hear just the same old Christmas tunes. But as I listen further, I start seeing the genius in his music. I don't think this is a genius of himself. He is letting God have his way with his music and it comes out well, very unconventional. I like how David Crowder 'mixes it up'.
Silent night, done very worshipfully with just guitar (oh my! how non-churchy! It was done that way the first time, when the organ broke) with everyone singing together in corporate worship. But it ends in a jam-session. Like the joy of the song telling the birth of our Saviour just can not be contained and he breaks out in song. O Holy Night ends with a simple 'Alleluia' being sung. Alleluia means "Praise the Lord". Carol of the Bells seems to be a rock opera (without the words) of which instrument can praise God the loudest. Kind of a dueling Wishing You A Very Merry Christmas. Wouldn't we be surprised if when we got to heaven the angels were doing a kind of dueling rock opera praising God kind of thing!
When I downloaded this, I clicked on some arrow and thought I messed up the order. When an artist makes a CD, I don't know if you realize how much thought is put into the order of the songs. Well I don't think I messed it up because there is a flow from the birth of Jesus, to the angels appearing and so on. Last on the CD is Angels we have Heard on High. It is a polka. It is a hoe-down. There is banjo and fiddle. I am wondering if he meditated on the story of the shepherds and this is his rendition of what it maybe was like for the shepherds. I love it. The same story, but told maybe just a little differently. Because we are all just a little different and according to the story, it is good news of great joy for all people.