My favorite Christmas Carol is “We Three Kings.” Between the beautiful tune and the lyrics poetically telling why each gift is important, it is the only song I’d sing for my students in China. I’d make them all look at the lyrics saying I couldn’t sing if they were looking at me.
I have a new reason to love this song. My seven year old niece was in a Nativity play this year (OK, with me and her sisters) and she insisted on singing the line, “Frankincense to offer have I, incense owns a deity nigh.”
This line is now seared into my soul.
Through tears of frustration she admitted (aka screamed at us) she had no idea what many of the words meant so how could she ever memorize it?! Um, precisely. This is why we all wanted her to sing the line, “Born a King on Bethlehem’s plain, gold I bring to crown him again.” But no, she wouldn’t have it. Would. Not. Have. It.
There were whispered practices in the bathroom with her sisters (whispered because this was to be a surprise performance). Whispered practices at meal times when in the hubbub she’d put her little face in mine and say, “Let’s practice, Frankincense to offer have I, incense owns a deity nigh.” Whispered practices in the car with her sisters.
She practiced and practiced to the point we can now all sing this line in our sleep.
When the moment came and she handed a candle to Joseph, she sang with utmost sincerity and accuracy the line she chose without understanding the meaning.
And can’t the same be said for us as well?
We may say we understand worship or the Holy Spirit or prayer or any number of elements of the faith, but do we? Thankfully through community and practice and, at times, screaming and tears we make progress and are able to do things that had been impossible for us.
Let’s practice together.
Behind closed doors.
In the hubbub of daily life.
As we travel.
Every now and then we’ll grab each others faces and say, “Let’s practice.” And together we’ll go over this part or that part of our faith.
We saw his star when it rose and have come to worship him, even though parts of the story are beyond us.
I’d love to hear of your favorite Christmas Carol or really any thought this stirred in you :)