I, who am professionally tied forever to one of the most popular seasonal articles at Christianity Today, “The Real 12 Days of Christmas,” began to listen to Christmas music today.
I never do this (sometimes I even enforce Advent tunes on my daughter while we decorate the tree, which we usually do around the second Sunday of Advent). I save my holiday playlist for December 25 and then I listen to it nonstop until Epiphany (January 6, if you are counting.)
But it’s been a hard year. And I love the third verse of Joy to the World:
“No more let sin and sorrow grow.
Nor thorns infest the ground:
He comes to make his blessings flow
Far as the curse is found.”
I discovered while writing this that it’s the most-included Christmas hymn in hymnals ever. Maybe there is hope for us after all. (Or at least there was hope for us in 2009 when that list was compiled!) For all my gentle prodding of the faith and work movement, there’s one thing it preaches that I unambiguously affirm: it is this world that Christ will redeem. It is these thorns that he will heal.