Jesus, What a Wonderful Child- a Christmas devotional for Dec. 30, 2017

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During the Twelve Days of Christmas, just as in the Advent season, I am going to reflect on a hymn or carol daily as part of my spiritual practices. I am not sure where all these reflections will take me, but in conversation with my spiritual director, I am going to leave room for both “the head stuff” and “the heart stuff.” Some days might be more of one or another. I invite you to join me, as together we make space to listen, and be present, to sense what God might be up to. 

Merry Sixth Day of Christmas! As much as today is a wonderful day, it is also a bittersweet one. It started off in Washington, saying good bye to family before flying back home to Nebraska. It’s great to be back home, but it’s always a bit hard to say goodbye to family and dear loved ones. There’s never enough time for these trips. But I know that there will be wonderful gatherings and memories galore to look forward to making in the year ahead.

cold
Pictures from a Baby Shower this past week- with a fitting phrase in the background, it is indeed cold outside.

If you haven’t heard, it’s a little cold in the midwest this weekend. In fact, it’s so cold, that many congregations are deciding to cancel worship out of an abundance of caution for tomorrow because of fear of people being out in unsafe elements and temperatures. My congregation joined them, this evening. I’m a little bummed because I was looking forward to filling in on piano and organ tomorrow, and especially to a fun jazzy and gospel postlude improvisation on “Jesus, What a Wonderful Child.” But, aside from my desire to play the piano and organ, I believe it was the right call. It’s not safe to have people outside when the actual temperature is near -20, and the windchill might be lower than -40.

Now, regarding the song, “Jesus, What a Wonderful Child,” the hymnal has the chorus. It’s a great chorus, and it goes like this:

Jesus, Jesus, oh, what a wonderful child.
Jesus, Jesus, so holy, meek, and mild;
new life, new hope the child will bring.
Listen to the angels sing: “Glory, glory, glory,”
let the heavens ring!

There are verses to this song. I have done them before as sort of a postlude recessional on Christmas Eve with my great friend Tom and the wonderful musicians at Cross of Hope Lutheran in Ramsey, Minnesota. I encourage you to look them up, as well as some recordings or performances online to listen to and join in the rejoicing.

As for me, as this weekend of cold continues, as the Huskies lost a close one in the Fiesta Bowl to Penn State… I am going to warm-up by having some fun tapping my foot and singing along to this song. I encourage you to join me. It’s just the peppy and joyful tune I need, to help overcome the feelings of a little sadness of knowing that vacation is coming to a close, and so are the Christmas family gatherings. But even though they might be concluding, I take joy in knowing that we still have another week of Christmas. So, again Merry Christmas! 

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Credit/Reference: “Jesus, What a Wonderful Child,” African American traditional, arr. Jeffrey Radford, (Pilgrim Press, 1992), found in Evangelical Lutheran Worship, (Minneapolis, MN: Augsburg Fortress, 2006), 297.

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