Don't Forget the Lyrics!

I'm going to start a new "series" called "Don't Forget the Lyrics!". After I posted the "To Everything There is a Season" blog, I realized how many songs I love and want to share. There are several reasons why I want to do this. Here are a handful of them...

1) I love music.
2) I think a lot of people enjoy music, but don't really pay attention to the lyrics. (Ben is admittedly guilty of this. There have been several occasions where I've told him what a song was about and it completely surprised him--he had never paid attention to what they were saying even though he was singing along.)
3) Music is an easy way for some (including me) to remember things like scripture.
4) The people that write music are much more eloquent and talented than me!

So, my first one is from Christy Nockels (one of my faves) and the song is called "By Our Love". The main message that I take from this is how we (the church) are called to be the "hands and feet of Christ" (as Christy says, "love with His hands, see with His eyes"). And what does that mean? I think it means many things, including...

- loving on our friends instead of judging them by their sin
- stopping to chat with the homeless guy on the corner instead of just passing by
- being uplifting and supportive instead of "gossipy"
- etc., etc.

And now to the lyrics. As you read them, let them soak in. And as you sing it, think about how you can apply it in your own life. That is the challenge I'm giving myself. I want to be known by my love that comes through knowing Christ!

By Our Love

Brothers, let us come together
Walking in the Spirit, there's much to be done...
We will come reaching, out from our comforts
And they will know us by our love...

Sisters, we were made for kindness
We can pierce the darkness as He shines through us...
We will come reaching, with a song of healing...
And they will know us by our love!

The time is nowCome Church arise...
Love with His hands
See with His eyes...
Bind it around you,
Let it never leave you,
And they will know us by our love...

Children, You are hope for justice,
Stand firm in the Truth now, set your hearts above
You will be reaching, long after we’re gone,
And they will know you by your love!

Written by Christy Nockels
© 2009 Songs / sixsteps Music
(admin. by EMI CMG Publishing) (ASCAP)

Oh (no), Christmas Tree

Don't judge me for the information I'm about to share with you...

We're not planning to put up a Christmas tree this year.

Yep, you heard (read) it right. We haven't put up a tree, and we don't plan to this year. And guess what else? No lights on the house either. And I'm totally OK with it.

"Why?" you ask. Well, not that I have to justify myself, but I certainly feel like I need to (obviously I'm blogging about it, so I must feel the need to explain myself, right?), so I will.

You see, we didn't go into this Christmas season intentionally planning to not have a tree. It just kind of happened. We were out of town for Thanksgiving and we came back home just in time for our remaining work days and an entire week of a project called Angels of Light that we participate in every year. It keeps us very busy and exhausted for an entire week (getting to sleep around midnight each night, then waking up at 5:30am to do it all over again). So, we planned to buy the tree this passed weekend. Well, once again, we had other commitments that kept us busy and just never found (made) time to pick out a tree.

Let me add that we have always bought real trees. I just personally love everything about having a real tree for Christmas. I don't have any objections to others having fake trees. I just personally love a real tree.

OK, back to the justification for not having a tree this year.

I said something to Ben on Sunday afternoon about "what if we just didn't have a tree this year". I was fully expecting him to disagree with me, but it turns out we were on the same page about this one! We don't have any kiddos, we're not having a party at our house during the Christmas season, so the tree would only be for us. And if we're OK with not having a tree, then I think it's OK to not have a tree. I mean, we can't put lights up on the house this year because Ben has a torn ACL (not a good idea for him to be on the roof with a bum knee). So that just made it even more OK to not have a tree. Then we both started adding more justifications to the pile...trees cost money (which we're currently trying to save), we really couldn't think of where in the house we would put it (we have more furniture this year than we have the passed 2 years), and we're just plain overwhelmed with other things on our plates.

It's not like we're scrooges or anything. I decorated the inside of our house with our Christmas items. We have stockings hung over the fireplace, garland on the mantle, festive dishes with Christmas candy, little santas and snowmen around the house, a holly wreath on the door, and a little snowman thingy on our front step. We even wrapped all of our gifts and placed them together in a corner. So our house definitely looks decorated for Christmas...there's just one thing (a pretty big thing) missing...the tree.

Who knows--we might change our minds and decide to go get a tree. Maybe even just a small "Charlie Brown" tree to put on an end table in the living room. But the point is that we don't NEED a tree in order to have a Merry Christmas, right? I guess we'll see...