Encouragement From The Word

Random acts of culture, random acts of faith

There is a ‘viral’ video going around the Internet these days which you may or may not have seen.  It shows what is called a “random act of culture”, whereby a bunch of singers spread themselves throughout Macy’s – the new home of the Wannamaker organ – and sing the “Hallelujah” chorus from The Messiah by G.F. Handel.  If you haven’t seen it, watch it here and enjoy.  (But don’t forget to come back!)

I was absolutely delighted to have watched this video, initially sent to me by a friend and Encouragement subscriber.  Even as a “random act of culture”, it is enjoyable.  But to us who appreciate the message behind the music, it means so much more.

One thing I really appreciated about it was the fact that people were gathering around for, listening to, even singing along with a piece of music that celebrates something decidedly not politically correct:  keeping Christ in Christmas.

This Sunday marks the end of one Christian year and the beginning of another.  November 28 is the first Sunday of Advent, the four-week season when we anticipate the coming (and coming again) of Jesus.  This is the reality of the church, yet we are surrounded by sales, hurrying, and nebulous wishes of “Happy Holidays!”

There’s a disconnect between our reality and our world’s celebration of what it thinks is our reality that only we can change.  You might not be able to arrange a rendition of the “Hallelujah” chorus in your nearby mall, but there are other things you can do.  For example:

  • When someone wishes you “Happy Holidays”, return that greeting with “Merry Christmas!”  I do this customarily, and sometimes, from a retail clerk, will get a quiet “YES!  He said ‘Merry Christmas’!”  Don’t be afraid to stand up for the season.
  • Or, you can choose not to give in to the retail bedlam that is a secular Christmas and give small, thoughtful, meaningful gifts to those with whom you wish to celebrate Jesus as the greatest gift ever given.
  • Also, you can choose to integrate the Christmas story into your life beyond Christmas Eve and Christmas Day.  You can use an Advent Wreath at home, as a means of preparing for the coming of the Lord.  You can even have an Advent Wreath at work, if an open flame is permitted or practical, to show that you are getting ready for the Light of the world.

There are many things you can do.  These are just ideas.  Instead of a random act of culture, you can invoke a random act of faith this holiday season Christmas!

 “Therefore, the Lord himself will give you a sign:  The virgin will be with child and will give birth to a son, and will call him Immanuel” (Isaiah 7.14, NIV).