O Holy Night: Warming a cold heart to the Christmas spirit

I’ll admit it. I didn’t feel … it. It just wasn’t there.

Isn’t it supposed to automatically turn on the day after Thanksgiving? You know, when it’s ok to start decorating, and overzealous radio stations hijack their regular programming for 100% Christmas music? Don’t we all get in the mood for Christmas then, as if on cue? Well I didn’t.

Sure, I started asking for families’ Christmas lists, and began shopping for the perfect gifts. But I was going through the motions. I didn’t even want to hear any Christmas music because I just wasn’t mentally ready for it.

Stopping to think about my lack of Christmas spirit gave me a sad awareness of the cold state of my heart. Being a committed Christian, the meaning of Christmas is deeply embedded in the fabric of my being and I always cherish this time of year. So I began to pray that God would once again draw me near and let me drink in the delight that comes from true worship and observance of the season.

Then it happened.

A few Sundays ago at church, a divine ice pick shattered the frozen exterior of my heart as we sang the words to this old Christmas classic:

O Holy Night! The stars are brightly shining,
It is the night of the dear Savior’s birth.
Long lay the world in sin and error pining.
Till He appeared and the soul felt its worth.
A thrill of hope the weary world rejoices,
For yonder breaks a new and glorious morn.
Fall on your knees! Oh, hear the angel voices!
O night divine, the night when Christ was born;
O night, O Holy Night , O night divine!
O night, O Holy Night , O night divine!

I felt hot tears forming as the significance of Christ’s birth washed over me once again. I continued to soak in more of the “Christmas spirit” as the song continued.

Truly He taught us to love one another,
His law is love and His gospel is peace.
Chains he shall break, for the slave is our brother.
And in his name all oppression shall cease.
Sweet hymns of joy in grateful chorus raise we,
With all our hearts we praise His holy name.
Christ is the Lord! Then ever, ever praise we,
His power and glory ever more proclaim!
His power and glory ever more proclaim!

Thanks be to God, who brought me face to face with the blessed reality I had been missing!

As I left church that morning, I thought to myself that I must hold on to this state of mind.

Since then I’ve managed to forget, and have found the joy of Christmas choked out on several occasions by the concerns of daily living and other relatively trivial matters.

Last Sunday I had the privilege of proudly listening to my older brother Garth Hamilton preach a sermon at his church. His advent message was about making room for Christ in our hearts during this time of year. How apropos. It’s as if God is trying to get through to me.

It took a while, but now, He’s got my attention.

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About Summer Sorensen

My aim: to live out Jesus' greatest commands (Matthew 22:36-40) & have the most fun while doing it.
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