Well, the tree is up, some parties have happened, some snacks have been snarfed…the season is in full swing. AND, the Christmas music is playing in my car, on my iPAD, on my laptop and on ALEXA!
Oh, how the years have changed; where I used to pull out the LPs in the back of the shelf, now I “download” it all. Hearing the music, while enjoying decorations and wassail, takes me back to the years that Mom & Dad would pull out the Christmas LP’s.
The first “album” I ever purchased was the FIRESTONE CHRISTMAS ALBUM WITH JULIE ANDREWS (remember those? One quarter with a fill-up?). For me, Christmas is not Christmas unless I’m listening to Julie (Mary Poppins) belt out those Christmas songs with the London Symphony Orchestra and arrangements by Andre Previn. They ARE STILL beautiful recordings, but it’s the memories that the music brings to mind, more than anything else, that puts me in the Christmas mood.
Memories are strong motivators. In churches, it’s memories of days-gone-by that sometimes determine how people feel about certain times, seasons and events in the Church. It’s the way a song reminds one of a time, that makes that person want to hear it again and again during worship. It’s the memory of the “way we’ve always done it” that keeps people from accepting change also.
I spent some time this year truly listening to those Julie Andrews recordings, and asking myself, “Do I love these songs because of the memories, or because they are beautiful in themselves?” I feel that I listened with discerning, critical, and objective ears…and the answer surprised me: “I love them FOR the memories AND because they are beautiful songs in themselves.”
Sometimes God wants us to re-visit our traditions just to affirm that they are GOOD traditions…and sometimes He wants us to accept change, not just because it’s different and new, but because it just might be what is needed at the time.
When I was younger I was a little less traditional (I’m still very untraditional in many ways), but I find myself loving tradition more and more…it’s what I love about Central Christian (along with the wonderful people). But I pray that I will never let my “favorite things” get in the way of God’s agenda.
Now…back to “Joy To the World” with Julie Andrews!