Every good compilation album gets a second volume, right?
It is that time of year when the sounds of the season are more noticeable and bring a sense of nostalgia. From the Salvation Army bell ringing at the door of your local grocer to the intercom music bounding with the joyful tintinabulation of the Christmas season, we absorb these sounds as we move throughout the cities and towns where we live, work, and play each and every year. We know very well the words of Buddy the Elf: “The best way to spread Christmas cheer is singing loud for all to hear.” These are the sounds of the season.
The songs that we sing during this time of year speak to a relative joy that this season brings. In the Christian context, they tell the story of the birth of the Savior. One of my all time favorite Christmas songs is “O Holy Night”. I can remember the first time this song caught my attention. It was a Sunday night at my home church, Northside Baptist in Tifton. The lady who sang it that night was Jeanette Carson. I was probably seven or eight years old at the time and I remember being enthralled by the song. No, I didn’t catch the full tenor of the hymn’s message, but it’s beauty was inescapable. Few have caught this the way Nat King Cole did in 1960, though many have come close.
O holy night, the stars are brightly shining,
It is the night of the dear Saviour’s birth;
Long lay the world in sin and error pining,
‘Till he appeared and the soul felt its worth.
A thrill of hope the weary world rejoices,
For yonder breaks a new and glorious morn;
Fall on your knees, Oh hear the angel voices!
O night divine! O night when Christ was born.
O night, O holy night, O night divine
The sounds of the season resound with God’s love for sinful humanity. The sounds of Christmas are replete with reminder after reminder that Jesus came for us! The third line of this verse highlights perfectly the scenario of the world: for millennia our world was crippled by sin, unable to grasp the full holiness of God because of our brokenness, and uncapable of making it right.
Adam catches the full weight of that night. Humanity had been waiting for a Savior. The Baby is born. The angels sing with the majesty of heaven’s chorus behind them! The holiness of heaven has been delivered to us.
As you walk through Advent this year, take the sound of the season and remember the Gospel of Luke 2. The choir of angelic voices enjoined in a refrain of God’s holiness, announcing the birth of the Savior. As you gather with family, shop online (or in stores), or drive through town there will be many sounds that seek to drown out the beautiful picture of God’s love and holiness meeting in Bethlehem’s stable. Let me encourage you to gaze upon the night sky, find the stars, and imagine the glorious announcement of Jesus’ birth.
On one holy night in Bethlehem many years ago, Jesus was born. On one holy night in Atlanta in 2020, our hearts can rejoice anew at the celebration of his birth.
 I know this is a debatable statement. They are up to Volume 76 in the American Now That’s What I Call Music franchise and I am not sure that any of them have actually been good. Monster Ballads, on the other hand, never got the second volume that it deserved.
 This is a fun word that I have long wanted to work into a sentence naturally. It was coined by Edgar Allan Poe in this poem The Bells. https://poets.org/poem/bells
 Written in 1847 by French operist Aldophe Adam; translated into English in 1855 by John Sullivan Dwight.