25 Songs of Christmas – Strange Way To Save
I am reposting a blog for the first time ever, but I read it today when looking for this song and it still fits. I found that interesting. Also, it’s late in the day and while I’ve thought of this a lot I haven’t come up with anything to say that fits more than this. So here it is. Last year’s blog again:
In keeping with the theme of trying to identify with the Christmas story, in all its facets, (especially the ones that go beyond the similar Christmas card scenes of glowing light and golden hay) I offer up to you a Christian contemporary standard: A Strange Way to Save the World.
I am going to utterly butcher this quote I should have memorized, but C.S. once said that unlike other parables, the salvation story doesn’t make good logical sense to most people. He went on to talk about how that actually bolstered his faith, because if the salvation story had been a perfectly convenient fit for all men, he would have thought it was likely to have been invented solely by men. A man-made salvation, though likely easier, wouldn’t actually be very Godlike at all, because God is complex and magnificent and supreme beyond our understanding. The salvation story hardly has to make complete sense to humans in its entirely; it’s rather more important that it makes sense to God, in God’s entirety, as that is who is ultimately offering the salvation.
I always think of that quote, or my vague memory of it, when I hear this song. How many times have I looked at the circumstances around Christ’s birth and thought, “that doesn’t make any sense”? It was too long ago. Too far from the seat of power. His community unprepared. His scope too small, or in the words of Andrew Llyod Webber, “If you’d come today, you could have saved a whole nation. Israel in 4 B.C. had no mass communication.”
Such a strange way to save the word. Such a backward time in such a strange land. Why then? Why them? And yet, the story has gotten out pretty well, has it not? Two thousand years later, are we not still brought together by the story? Do we not still sing songs and gather in houses of worship to hear of the night love came down.
I don’t know about you, but asking those questions about the Christmas story always leads me to wonder about all the other times I have asked them about my own life. How many times have I asked God, “Why me? I’m just an ordinary person. Why now? There’s so much more to be done. Why here? Surely you have such better platforms at your disposal. Surely there is always a better place, some better way, some better time, and most of all some better person. It doesn’t make sense to me. But am I really one to second guess what angels have to say?
For whatever reason, God uses some strange ways to save the world, ways that don’t always make sense to the smallness that is our understanding of the infinite wisdom. And yet, those ways are not so high, so grandly removed from our humanity that even the lowliest of shepherds cannot play a big part. If God managed to offer the gift of salvation to the entire world though a carpenter, an ordinary girl, a tiny town, an even tinier baby, who is it say he can’t also work miracles through each an every one of us?
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