So be careful how you live. Don’t live like fools, but like those who are wise. 16 Make the most of every opportunity in these evil days. 17 Don’t act thoughtlessly, but understand what the Lord wants you to do. 18 Don’t be drunk with wine, because that will ruin your life. Instead, be filled with the Holy Spirit, 19 singing psalms and hymns and spiritual songs among yourselves, and making music to the Lord in your hearts. 20 And give thanks for everything to God the Father in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ.
– Ephesians 5:15-20
The radio stations have been playing “Christmas” music for weeks now. I easily tire of much of it. I can take only so many renditions of White Christmas, and only a half of a runthrough of “Grandma Got Run Over by a Reindeer.” Please! Aren’t there better songs to celebrate the gift of the Christ Child?
We are called to learn what the will of God is. Knowing what God isn’t all that mysterious. Part of that is conveyed directly in these verses. Avoiding drunkenness and thoughtless living is highlighted here. Jesus, when asked about the greatest commandment, offered a clarion call, “Love the Lord your God…and your neighbor as yourself.” While it may be a challenge to determine what is most loving in a particular situation, this is a call to thoughtful kindness, and kindly intentionality. That goes for the way we celebrate Christmas and a host of other choices we make each day.
We are not called to a mail-it-in saunter through a mindless existence. We are called to a life of intentional and thankful love. We are called to give praise to God and encourage others to do the same thing. We are called to be careful in our conversation and expression of praise.
Christmas time is a great opportunity to put this into action. What is on the top of your Christmas music playlist? Does “Grandma Got Run Over by a Reindeer,” come even close to “Mary Did You Know,” or “I heard the bells on Christmas Day”? Not to mention the profoundly beautiful “Of the Father’s Love Begotten” or “O Come, O Come, Immanuel.” I won’t call your faith into question if you like the Grandma song, but I might question your tastes.
From simple carols like “Joy to the World,” or “Silent Night,” to the profound “What Child is This?” we have opportunity during this season to sing praise to God and encourage others to be mindful of the message of this season.