Do You Hear What I Hear? You’re probably familiar with this seasonal melody. It was written in 1962 by Noel Regney and Gloria Shayne (with names like “Noel” and “Gloria” how could they not write a Christmas song?). It describes how the birth of Jesus was picked up by the night wind, then relayed to the small lamb; the lamb, in turn, told the shepherd who passed it on to the king who proclaimed to all the people that a child was born who would bring “goodness and light.”
Isn’t that what so much of our celebration is about? Believers asking the world to see what we see, to hear what we hear? It’s probably the only time of year when the message of the gospel can be heard resonating from department stores, radio stations and even (gasp) public buildings…through the sounds of the season.
I will never forget when Christmas carols took on a deeper meaning for me. The year was 1973. I had gotten married that spring and Chip and I had moved to Florida. It was my first Christmas away from Ohio—from home, from cold weather and the possibility of snow, from all the familiarities that triggered Christmas (somehow, lights strung on the town water tank and temperatures in the 70s just didn’t cut it). But our landlords invited us to join them Christmas Eve to go caroling.
We packed into the back of Roy Roberts’ Camino and headed to the town trailer park occupied primarily by retirees. As we drove through the rows of mobile homes and people came to their doors offering us candy and smiles of appreciation, something began to happen in my heart. Maybe it was because many of the things that had previously defined Christmas were stripped away. Perhaps it was just the grace of God. But as we belted out Hark the Herald Angels Sing, O Come All Ye Faithful and Joy to the World I sensed the message of those timeless choruses overtaking me. I knew I was preaching the good news, unabashed, unashamed and…. unforgettably.
We never know when heaven might invade earth. I certainly wasn’t expecting it that night. It’s clear the shepherds were caught off guard when the heavenly hosts made their entry on that first Christmas.
So maybe some people in your sphere will be surprised this year. You don’t have to be part of a flash mob in the mall to let the carols transform you into a bringer of good tidings. Who knows? Maybe a few of your friends and acquaintances just might…
Hear what you hear!