I recently saw a Facebook post where a Parkview mom surprised her hubby by decorating the house for Christmas before Thanksgiving! While some would consider this a no-no (I was one until a few years ago), I’ve come to accept and even embrace this slower pace of decorating for the season. Actually, I’ve always wanted to decorate before Thanksgiving, so by telling myself that it is to lessen the stress, I’m just trying to rationalize it to those who don’t share the same level of enthusiasm. The truth is … I just love Christmas! My kids would tell you that at any point during the year there’s a chance that I’m listening to Christmas music! It just makes me happy! So do Christmas movies, Christmas decorations, and Christmas stories … oh and Christmas cookies! … and … well, just about anything Christmas.

I know that I’m not alone. Right?!? While you enjoy your favorite parts of Christmas this year, look for the gospel story. Two places where I frequently notice the gospel are in the movies we watch and the songs that we sing.

So – what’s your favorite Christmas movie? Miracle on 34th Street? It’s a Wonderful Life? Elf? Or the very famous Die Hard? (Did you know that Die Hard was a Christmas movie? I didn’t either.) A Christmas Carol has always been my absolute favorite! From the Alastair Simm to the animated Jim Carrey version, if one of the gazillion adaptations is on tv, I’m ready to watch it (although some are definitely better than others). The story of a sinner convicted, redeemed, and changed – what could be more Christmasy? 2 Corinthians 5:17 says, This means that anyone who belongs to Christ has become a new person. The old life is gone; a new life has begun! Ebenezer Scrooge is a picture of this Bible verse. Nothing quite says the holidays are here though like singing Christmas hymns. The message of some of the songs perfectly proclaim the gospel. In 1739 Charles Wesley penned Hark! The Herald Angels Sing. About a year after his conversion, he was inspired by the ringing church bells in London as he walked to church on Christmas Day. One of my favorite lines in this song is: Peace on earth and mercy mild, God and sinners reconciled… There it is! The gospel message once again. Christians have been singing this song for over 200 years and chances are that if you go to church during this holiday season, you will sing it, too.

As a child living in England, I sang Sing Lullaby (The Infant King) with my classmates during our Christmas concert. I did not understand it’s deep theology then, but I now marvel at the miraculous truth within the simple verses.

1. Sing lullaby!

Lullaby baby, now reclining,

Sing lullaby!

Hush, do not wake the Infant King.

Angels are watching, stars are shining,

Over the place where he is lying.

Sing lullaby!

2. Sing lullaby!

Lullaby baby, now a-sleeping,

Sing lullaby!

Hush, do not wake the Infant King.

Soon will come sorrow with the morning,

Soon will come bitter grief and weeping.

Sing lullaby!

3. Sing lullaby!

Lullaby baby, now a-dozing,

Sing lullaby!

Hush, do not wake the Infant King.

Soon comes the cross, the nails, the piercing,

Then in the grave at last reposing.

Sing lullaby!

4. Sing lullaby!

Lullaby! is the babe a-waking?

Sing lullaby!

Hush, do not stir the Infant King.

Dreaming of Easter, gladsome morning,

Conquering Death, its bondage breaking.

Sing lullaby!

In the first verse, the Infant King that angels watched will soon endure sorrow, grief and weeping in the second verse. The third verse speaks of the cross and his death while the final stanza rejoices with Christ conquering death on Easter morning! Christmas and Easter all in one song. Now that is truly what Christmas is all about! We must remember that the baby in the manger is the Savior on the cross.

Colossians 1:19-22 says, For God in all his fullness was pleased to live in Christ, and through him God reconciled everything to himself. He made peace with everything in heaven and on earth by means of Christ’s blood on the cross. This includes you who were once far away from God. You were his enemies, separated from him by your evil thoughts and actions. Yet now he has reconciled you to himself through the death of Christ in his physical body. As a result, he has brought you into his own presence, and you are holy and blameless as you stand before him without a single fault.

During this Christmas season, look for the gospel story in the movies you watch or the songs that you sing. God and sinners reconciled – definitely reason to sing, Glory to the newborn king! with Charles Wesley. And like Ebenezer Scrooge, let’s honor Christmas in our heart, and try to keep it all the year. Merry Christmas!

By 1st Grade Teacher, Tracey Hagan