music

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

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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:

(Chorus)

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!

What If For a Moment Everything Was All Right?

Tom Petty in a concert asked: could we imagine for a moment everything is all right? Not a bad exercise to practice. We know our lives and world aren’t the way they’re supposed to be.

But I thought about the question and you do get glimpses of when everything “seems” to be okay. Like for a moment, small moment, sin is not a thing, evil has been banished, and people are decent. Birth of a child, wedding day, concert…?

Yes, concerts. I’ve had more than one time in my life while attending a concert that the world seemed to fade away. All its pain, sorrow, and my own, gone. I know it’s not true, but for a moment, with thousands of other people: everything seemed all right. 

Music has that kind of power. Moments of serenity. I think the universe is made and sustained by a musical Creator. That’s why for moments of time, we can experience everything appearing to be okay… maybe. 

The anthem of eternity will include lots of singing. Maybe that’s the clue.

Here’s a little Tom Petty. One of my favorite songs (Wildflowers):

We're the Walking Wounded (video)

Johnny Cash was a prolific songwriter and poet. Last year, a collection of his poems, Forever Words, give an insight into his faith, hopes, and dreams. 

This year an album based on these poems were released. I’d like to share one song based on a poem called: The Walking Wounded by Roseanne Cash.

When I think about describing life under the sun, Walking Wounded, is right on. Check out Johnny Cash’s daughters rendition of this poem below. 

”The Walking Wounded"

(originally by Johnny Cash)

We're in the church house kneeling down

We're in the subways underground

We're in the bars and on the street

We drive a truck we walk a beat

We're in the mills and factories

We make the steel we cut the trees

A thousand-yard stare, eyes of glass

But we will see you when you pass

 

We lost our homes, we lost our dreams

All our goals have turned into schemes

We hurt each other and ourselves

So after long, traumatic spells

 

We are the walking

We are the walking

We are the walking wounded

 

We cried out from the deepest pit

But rise back up each time we're hit

We fell from power and from grace

But resurrection's in our face

We're just like little girls and boys

We play with grown up toys

We never thought of sink or swim

My brother hurts me so I hurt him

 

We are the walking

We are the walking

We are the walking wounded

 

Like a circle, round and round

We go up so we come down

We don't explain or apologize

We pull the veil across our eyes

We see through your fake refrain

But we won't let you see our pain

You may not know us but you will see

There are more than you'd believe

 

We are the walking

We are the walking

We are the walking

We are the walking

 

We are the walking

We are the walking

We are the walking wounded

Johnny Cash: Forever Words Buy/Listen - https://JohnnyCash.lnk.to/Foreverwords_Album!tww About the album: Johnny Cash: Forever Words is a collaborative album consisting of 16 songs created from Johnny Cash's unknown poetry, lyrics, and letters set to music by an astounding array of contemporary artists including Chris Cornell, Ruston Kelly & Kacey Musgraves, Rosanne Cash, Alison Krauss & Union Station, Brad Paisley, Kris Kristofferson & Willie Nelson, John Mellencamp, Elvis Costello, Carlene Carter, The Jayhawks, T.