Some will no doubt disagree, or perhaps you have never of it all, but I think the Pink Floyd album “Dark Side of the Moon” is one of the best of its kind. One of its most arresting tracks, and which shares the album title, contains these very lingering lyrics, “And if the band you’re playing in starts playing different tunes, I’ll see you on the dark side of the moon.” It is particularly at this time of year that I find myself recalling that line. These last days before Christmas in Advent are a time of year that I feel as if I am singing a different tune than the rest of the world.
Here we are as Christians preparing for the coming of the Christ child and the rest of the world has, for quite a time, been ready to go. For months now we have been well surrounded by Christmas (a.k.a “holiday”) opportunities to consume, even on our own laptop. Yet, of late we have been singing a different tune while preparing for the birth of the Christ child.
We are bid by our Christian tradition to open our lives to the transforming reality of a soon to be born infant. As with any other preparations for a new birth there are practical questions which follow: Is everything in order? How will things change? Where will the child reside?
For Christians similar questions mark this time: Where will God reside in me? Is there room in my heart for new life? Am I prepared for that new life about to be born? These are our soul-searching questions and they can be as challenging as those that face any expectant Mom or Dad. While the rest of the world’s jingles call us to indulge the arresting Advent melodies speak expectantly of the birth of God with us.
Surprise is often the reaction to my response as someone asks me if I have done my Christmas shopping, “Of course not!” Being a card carrying “Xmas” curmudgeon I have no other choice, I much too busy struggling to earnestly beckon God to fully impregnate my heart with God’s love. And that really is what Advent should have been about: Making ourselves pregnant with God’s love; allowing the love of God to grow within us, like an innocent child whose presence demands our love as a matter of human response.
As we prepare for this birth, a realization catches us that new life can happen even through the sometimes laborious nature of living. Sometimes through the arresting pain and struggle of being alive, the groaning and wrenching grip of life’s darkest secrets come to us as we look carefully at how broken we can be.
But as we direct our help laden pleas to God this new love about to be born beckons us. The ardent and honest inward looking process of Advent has hopefully broken through the determined impediments of our alienation from God and compellingly the child’s new life calling us is growing more and more audible. Our heart, our soul, our mind, and our strength are awakened once again to the wonder that a child can bring to our browbeaten lives - love is made flesh!
So, as these last days draw near to Jesus’ birth let’s sing out that God is coming to us. And so join another chorus of voices which through time has sounded a counterpoint to the world’s choruses. Let’s carry a different tune and sing joyously of God coming to us instead of the frenetic Xmas season that has already been with us for months now.
As we sing a compelling tune to prepare for the coming of Jesus, I wish you a joyous Christmas that I hope will be filled with the ever-new life of Emmanuel – God’s love made flesh within us! In the ongoing darkened days and nights of this time of year our Saviour’s melody will be the welcomed bright side of God’s winter moon!