An old Picture of Anna in a Santa Claus hat, because...
It’s Beginning to Look a Lot Like…
Well, not really. Actually, I don’t even think Wal-mart is decking the halls yet, but I have been thinking about Christmas all this week. You see, when you write church music, you have to think ahead liturgically which means that when everyone is watching bowl games on New Year’s day, still basking in the radiating joy of Christmas, I am already thinking about Good Friday and Easter music. And when everyone is mowing their yards for the last few times as fall really starts to kick in, I’ve already been thinking about the baby boy in the manger… the greatest story of all.
My favorite themes to write Christmas music around are the juxtaposition of opposing concepts… you know like the fact that Jesus who is King over all was not born in a palace and into fame and riches, but born into poverty in a stable… and the way the Almighty Master and Creator of the universe became a helpless newborn… the way the Great I AM, perfect in wisdom and knowledge became an infant incapable of speech. I love those ideas because they seem to be the ways God does everything… sort of backwards… you know, like the fact that weakness is strength, laying down your life is keeping it and the first will be last.
Well, in the middle of working on and thinking about Christmas music, I was reading Isaiah 46 this week and came across a verse that captures one of those cool, backwards thoughts, and it might just be a Christmas verse… In verse 13 the Lord says, “I am bringing my righteousness near; it is not far away…”
When I first read that verse I thought about the fact that the righteousness of God is about as far away as anything could ever be! When you sit down and read about what is righteous according to the Lord in the books of the Law, you find that the only thing about His righteousness that is near is the fact that it’s nearly impossible for us to be righteous in any way! The idea of God’s righteousness being near is almost a ridiculous concept… that is, until you consider Jesus.
When God Almighty took off His glory and put on skin, becoming a tiny baby on that first Christmas, the righteousness of God came near. That which is so unbelievably far away and so impossibly unattainable moved in to our little planet and walked around. The Righteousness of God grew up, had friends, went over to their houses, sang songs, ate food and laughed over jokes and good times. The Righteousness of God came near... near enough to touch, and then laid down His life, dying in our place, so that Paul was able to write those unparalleled words in Romans 3:21 which say, “But now a righteousness from God, apart from law, has been made known…”
Christmas isn’t here yet, but I’m getting fired up just thinking about it, because it means that the thing that is farthest away from me was brought near… It means that I can have the righteousness of God! As Paul said in 2 Corinthians 5, “God made Him who had no sin to be sin for us, so that in Him we might become the righteousness of God.”
and now, a little video post from my Mom's most recent visit (with a little help from Allison Krauss & Union Station)
3 years ago