Trash Together

bc-cmas

It was the Christmas of 1993. I had been working in Christian radio all of a year and half. We would get CDs in the mail all the time. Some of them were from core artists heard nationwide. Some were new and trying to get their stuff heard on the air. Others were different. They may be out of our format or just not good enough.

If my program director didn’t like them for whatever reason they would end up in the trash. So I started sifting through the rejects on a regular basis for something I might like or could sell online.

Just before the holidays I found a Christmas reject.  It was from Bruce Cockburn.  He was one of those artists who was different.  He wasn’t Christian enough to be heard on Christian airwaves and not a big hit on mainstream.  Still, this was his 18th album and he had a loyal following.  I took it home.

It has since become a staple of my Christmas music library.  His Go Tell it on the Mountain is my favorite version.  As I’ve mentioned before it’s just not Christmas in my house till Mary Had a Baby gets played and the kids start chanting, “My Lord, the people keep coming but the train has gone…”.

I wonder how our Christmas gatherings might be different if I had not found that CD.

But my favorite Christmas song is That Spirit of Christmas by Ray Charles.  The first time most people heard it was during that scene when Clark Griswold is locked in the attic during the movie Christmas Vacation.  The song plays while he watches old family films.

“Christmas is the time of year
For being with the one’s we love
Sharing so much joy and cheer
What a wonderful feelin’
Watching the one’s we love
Having so much fun

I was sittin’ by the fire side
Taking a walk through the snow
Listening to a children’s choir
Singing songs about Jesus
The blessed way that he came to us
Why can’t it remain
All through the year
Each day the same
Heyeah, that’s what I wanna hear
It’s truly amazin’
That spirit of Christmas

All the kin folk gather round
The lovely Christmas tree
Hearts are glowing full of joy
Sense the gifts that we’re giving
And the love that we’re living
Why can’t it remain
Oh all through the year
Each day the same
that’s what I wanna hear
I’ll tell ya
It’s truly amazin’
That spirit of Christmas

When I think of this song and its message and the weird year that we just came through I can’t help but wonder how we need it now more than ever.  But then I was struck with the reality that I wasn’t thinking of this family.  I was thinking about the world “out there”.

And then I started thinking about the title of our family group messenger.  “We are all in this together”.  I don’t know who gave it that title but it truly works.  Replace the word ‘Christmas’ with any other word for gathering, Thanksgiving, family dinner, summer croquet, birthday dinners, etc.

Family dinners are the time of year
For being with the one’s we love
Sharing so much joy and cheer
What a wonderful feelin’
Watching the one’s we love
Having so much fun…

Why can’t it remain
All through the year????

Well, it does remain and it has remained.  That’s a blessing that needs to be highlighted and protected.  So now the question is will it remain?  Because I can guarantee changes are coming.  Someone will lose a job or worse.  There will be relationship challenges.  Issues of trust.  Temptation.  Heartache.  Money problems.  New members will move into this family by birth or by choice.  As it grows, will it remain?

I say YES if we continue to remember who we are.  The world may miss it.  Just like they missed it on that first Christmas morn.  Redemption ripped through the surface of time in the cry of a tiny babe but only a few heard it.  People still struggle to find their worth but forgiveness has already been given.  And we just have to move forward in hope and in love to demonstrate that it can be done.  It won’t be perfect and it may not always be pretty.  But it surely is a valuable thing to hold on to.

Like a CD that’s pulled out of the trash, I know there is a place of belonging for us here and forever because we are all in this together.

 

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