Neglected Christmas Songs, the Death of Trying, and Why the Baby Brings Joy?


One of the most neglected Christmas songs of all time from a non-religious band is from The Band, Christmas Must Be Tonight. They suggest and ask the listener to consider a profound truth in the song:


How a little baby boy

Bring the people so much joy

Son of a carpenter

Mary carried the light

This must be Christmas, must be tonight

How does a little baby boy bring so much joy?

I can’t answer that question for you, but it has something to do with what the baby came to do… namely save us from our sins, and heal the entire cosmos.

A great reason to have joy, right?

Another band, a favorite, is Big Star that sought to understand why we’re here, and what the life under the sun is all about. Unfortunately, they missed the heart of the gospel. Check out these lyrics from Try Again:

Lord, I've been trying to be what I should

Lord, I've been trying to do what I could

But each time it gets a little harder

I feel the pain

But I'll try again

Lord, I've been trying to be understood

And lord, I've been trying to do as you would

But each time it gets a little harder

I feel the pain

But I'll try again

Trying to be what I should… trying to be what I could…

The gospel is not about trying hard to please God, or striving to become something we lack. The heart of the gospel is Do vs. Done. We don’t earn or work for anything; it has been done for us in the baby that brings joy.

That doesn’t mean there’s nothing we're called to do considering our renewed relationship with God. Grace is opposed to earning, not effort. We obey and honor the ones you love. But trying and striving to be something or earn something from God will only lead us to frustration.
Maybe that was the heart behind Try Again? A man struggling to become what he thought God wanted, and couldn't seem to rest in grace.

The good news of Christmas and the message of Jesus that brings great joy… is everything we couldn’t do for ourselves has been done by the Anointed Son.

That’s a song I can get in to!