Today we welcome Matt, leader at Ark Church Halifax, to the Ark Pantry blog for the first time.
There is an audio for those that prefer it – if not just carry on reading. the text is the same.

I’ve been listening to Christmas music recently – and no, I’m not even sorry.

What music?

But I’m not talking about ‘Rocking Around the Christmas Tree’ or ‘Merry Christmas Everybody’ – I try my best not to listen to those songs, even in December.

To be honest, the Christmas music I’ve been listening to, exclusively, can be found on Phil Wickham’s 2019 album, simply titled ‘Christmas’. There are a couple of songs that I skip but the vast majority are beautifully written and arranged ‘Christ-Mass’ songs – what I mean is, they ‘Remember Christ’ (Mass being the traditional name for a service of remembering – and its where we get the name ‘Christmas’).

They remember that the God of the universe –

THE GOD OF THE UNIVERSE!

– came.

He came to love, to serve, to give, to rescue, to redeem, to bring a new kingdom.

He came for me.

Why that music?

But why am I listening to Christmas songs in October?

You probably aren’t that surprised, I mean, the nights are drawing in, it’s getting colder, it’s not unusual to yearn for the hope and joy that the celebrations in December bring to many (although, they will certainly look a lot different this year). But it may surprise you more that I often listen to Christmas carols throughout the year, regardless of the temperature and length of daylight.

The truth is, life can get complicated. Faith can get complicated.

I spend a lot of my time wrestling with difficult theological questions. I read, I listen, I talk – in order that I may teach the wonderful local body of Christ to which I have been entrusted to lead.

I also have the joy of walking with followers of Jesus navigating sometimes difficult life circumstances. They are wrestling with pain and suffering whilst knowing the eternal hope and love that can only be found in Jesus.

You’ll know the feeling. Sometimes, if we’re honest, it all melts your head.

It Changes Everything

I’ve learned (often the hard way) that I need to regularly centre myself, my soul, on the simple, bare truth – the Truth – Jesus.

That He came and He changed everything. No matter the complications in life, the questions, the highs, the lows. He came and He understands.

That’s why I listen to Christmas music and, in particular, Christmas music that focuses on the incarnation of Jesus, the God become Man.  

To remember that He came and that changes everything.

Maybe you need to centre your soul on that truth now – spend a moment to pray and meditate through these words, there’s a link to the audio too.

Away in a Manger (Forever Amen)

Away in a manger, no crib for a bed
The little Lord Jesus lay down His sweet head
The stars in the sky, look down where He lay
The little Lord Jesus asleep on the hay

The cattle are lowing, the baby awakes
The dawn of salvation beginning to break
I love Thee, Lord Jesus, oh gift from above
The King of the heavens forever with us

I worship You, Jesus for all of my days
The highest of praises be unto Your name
My God and my Saviour, my King and my friend
Yours is the glory, forever amen

Phil Wickham – 2019