December 17, 2020

Bill Knott’s GraceNotes: Keep On Singing (December 18, 2020)

Electric icicles are draped from eaves that never have seen snow. Inflatables, some 10 feet tall, loom high above synthetic reindeer, grazing on front lawns. Mythical figures never known in Bethlehem crowd close to dash away whatever pain may linger in the story. Back-lit Nativity scenes help us believe that everything that night was just as festive, clean, and comfortable as all the stuff by which we annually remember it. But it was painful to be Joseph—much harder still to be Mary—when none were welcoming and no inn had a room. The irony was palpable and blunt: “He came to His own, and His own did not receive Him,” the Gospel says (Jn 1:11). Royal lineage did not protect Him. Creatorship gave Him no sweet advantages. The wealthy and the powerful were threatened, not elated, by His birth. All that the principalities and powers could do was summoned to make His entry random, painful, and forgettable. But heaven had—and heaven has—a beautiful and gracious plan. For every time we sing a carol, or read the story, or tell a child, we push the darkness back a bit. “I am the light of the world,” Jesus says. “Whoever follows me will never walk in darkness” (Jn 8:12). The grace He gives, the life He beckons us to live, “is like the light of dawn, which shines brighter and brighter until full day” (Prov 4:18). Keep singing now: the light will grow. Decide to tell the story. And stay in grace. -Bill Knott

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