“I Love That Line!” by Guest Writer Lisa A. Tuttle

CC BY, VinothChandar, Flickr

CC BY, VinothChandar, Flickr

This is the first post in the “I Love That Line!” series that features writers’ reflections on their favorite Christmas carols. Lisa A. Tuttle, aka “Sparky”, writer of Hey Sparky! What Time Is It?, reflects on a verse from “Welcome to Our World.”

Okay, call me a sap, but I love Christmas music. Old English carols, traditional church carols, holiday pop music—I like it all.

Well except for that song “Christmas Shoes”.  It brings out my “Grinchiness.” And although the spell checker indicates “Grinchiness” is not a word, I can spell it and use it in a sentence—and admit to it. You know exactly what I mean. So “Stink! Stank! Stunk!” on you, Spellcheck, and fiddle-dee-dee! and fa-la-la!

Anyway, other than the aforementioned song about holiday footwear for deceased family members, I like it all. Typically, I like the older songs a bit more than the newer ones; but that’s a generalization, not a rule. That detail was broken eleven years ago…big-time.

Welcome, Lord Jesus

In July of 2002, a CD was released by a new artist. Oddly enough, he included a single Christmas song on his otherwise non-holiday recording.

I will never forget the first time I heard it. I got goose bumps listening to this song with lullaby for a tune, sung by a voice that felt like warm honey. The words were simple yet powerful and unlike anything I’d heard before. It stirred a deep aching in me and brought tears to my eyes. All these years later, it still has that effect on me.

The song is “Welcome to Our World” by Chris Rice.

The lyrics of this song are beautiful and replete with a haunting sweetness. The last stanza explains why Jesus came and what it meant for him to do so.

 “So wrap our injured flesh around you;
Breathe our air and walk our sod.
Rob our sin and make us holy,
Perfect Son of God.”

Identified with Us

The Delight of Heaven laid aside the glory of his deity to become a baby and assume our human frailties.

My frailties.

Instead of being worshipped and adored by angels, he became surrounded by rough-skinned, wounded-hearted humans. He wrapped himself in an earth suit prone to breakage and damage.

It’s a mind-blowing thought that God could now be bitten by a fire ant or drink contaminated water and spend the next week running to the waste pit. He could get a sore throat or drop something heavy on his toe and lose his toenail. He could get one of those maddening itches in the middle of his back, the kind you can never reach and isn’t really satisfied by scratching anyway.

Somehow this both comforts me and offends me. I’m offended because I know who he is and what he deserved. A smelly stable birth doesn’t qualify. A fallen body doesn’t qualify. The company of bitter religious men doesn’t qualify. A government hostile to his people doesn’t qualify.

Jesus, the Humble Servant

Yet Jesus knew it would be that way and he came anyway. In the most helpless, dependent form possible, he came and then lived among us submitting to the processes of the human body, soul, and spirit. He didn’t skip puberty; he didn’t skip the mean kids on the playground; he didn’t skip catching colds; he didn’t skip outgrowing his shoes.

He became one of us and never once threw down his “God Card”, not even when he was surrounded by aggressors and betrayers who closed their eyes to the wonder of what a man rightly related to God could do. The signs, wonders, and miracles he showed them meant nothing to them when his goodness threatened their personal religious kingdoms.

When darkness prompted those same aggressors and betrayers to publicly accuse, humiliate, torment, and kill him, he didn’t fight them; instead he voluntarily gave up his very life-breath—and made an incomprehensibly amazing transaction.

Born to Save

Jesus took our diseases, grief, and death-destiny and gave us in return his holiness, cleanness, and honored heavenly position. He made a way to the Father for us that cannot be cancelled or blocked by darkness. He robbed the power of sin leaving it destitute and slack-jawed; and he watched as all that is good and perfect about him was transferred to us as a gift. Ours is an identity we could not achieve for ourselves.

But on that first day when Mary held him, grunting and squeaking in her arms, who could have known any of this?

Indeed, welcome to our world.

Read more by Lisa at her blog Hey Sparky! What Time Is It? 

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“Hard Candy Christmas”

This week The ‘Mike’ is reflecting on Christmas music. I’d like to share this one with you before starting. You might know it already—“Hard Candy Christmas” by the great Dolly Parton. I love this song. It’s a tender tear-jerker, not unlike Dolly’s delicate voice and emotional delivery.

A ‘hard candy Christmas’ described the holiday for a family so poor that parents could only afford a cheap bag of hard candies to give to their kids; and Christmas was the only time for such a splurge.

My hope is that you’ll think of someone else this season, if only by remembering them in your prayers. Everyone’s not happy like most of us, for different reasons. And many are like the narrator of this song—just getting by.

Yet circumstance doesn’t have to take the merriment out of Christmas. Listen and reflect.

Christmas Series—“I Love That Line!”

CC BY-NC, emily.bluestar, Flickr

CC BY-NC, emily.bluestar, Flickr

Once again The ‘Mike’ is celebrating the holiday by showcasing the writing of its friends. The Christmas week will feature me and three guest writers all reflecting on our favorite Christmas tunes. Who doesn’t love Christmas music, right? So if you do, chime in with us and share your thoughts. Let me introduce you to my guests.

Lisa A. Tuttle, aka “Sparky”, is the writer of the whimsical Hey Sparky! What Time Is It? I’ve described her blog as “a little humor that gets T-boned by profound truth (and vice versa)”—and it’s true. I’m always smiling (or laughing) after reading Lisa’s posts, or reeling from the rich insight she whips out. I cannot wait to see what she’ll share with us.

Kathleen Becker is the writer of Coming2Him. I wanted Kathleen as part of this series because her writing is perspicuous, sincere, and richly insightful. That kind of writing enjoined with this season is a recipe for a meaningful reflection. If you aren’t familiar with Coming2Him, I’m happy to introduce you.

Nate Smith is the writer of Breaking the Silence. I love Nate’s eclectic style, genuineness, and determination for God. Nate’s writing is sometimes light and fun and at other times very probing, intimate, and honest. His blog features a little of everything: poetry, travelogue, confession, reflection, and devotion. Let’s see how he’ll reward us!

I hope you’ll return and share a little of our Christmas spirit. By the way, what is one of your favorite Christmas songs or lines?