Back in September this year I was having a conversation with my nephew and somehow we got onto the topic of Christmas and music at Christmas time.
In particular, we got onto the topic of Christmas Carols and Christmas Songs. I don’t know if he asked the question or whether I was just waxing lyrical, but I recall defining for him the difference between Christmas Carols and Christmas Songs.
I think he asked me to explain the difference.
“Well,” I said, not really sure, “Christmas Carols are about Jesus and have usually been around for a while. While Christmas Songs aren’t usually about Jesus and sometimes are newer.”
I felt happy to have given such a clear and succinct response. However, no sooner had the answer left my mouth, that my nephew began singing ‘Jingle Bells’.
Hang on a minute…
That’s a Christmas Carol. And I don’t recall the baby in the manger being in the one-horse open sleigh.
The definition that I’d been proud of a moment earlier, had been sunk by one line of lyrics.
If you’ve come to this post to find out the difference between a Christmas Carol and a Christmas Song, then you’ll be disappointed. Evidently, I don’t know the answer. And that’s not the point I’m aiming to make here.
It’s easy to think (as adults especially) that we’ve got all the answers about Christmas. We know the definitions. We know the score. We’ve done this thing countless times before, right?
Yet, when we see God reducing himself to a baby and ponder on it, I think we realise that Christmas is all about humility. That includes admitting that we don’t know all the answers about Christmas, every tradition, or more importantly – we don’t know everything about God.
So perhaps, I and you – we – should come to Christmas this year with a spirit of humility: not thinking that we know about it all, already. Instead, we should come humbly and prayerfully, ready to see what God might want to teach us.
Yours in confusion,