fill us up with Love

Every year, I seem to find a Christmas song or hymn that captures my spirit and plants a seed of the season in my heart.  For quite some time, the songs seemed to change every year, and as my daughter grew, a new voice lent itself to the tradition.  Some years, the song has been filled with faith and solemnity, some years I am captured by the tune only, and through a preschooler’s eyes, there was even something special about Bruce Springsteen’s version of Santa Claus is Coming to Town.

Three Advents ago, however, a song unexpectedly surfaced in the unlikeliest of places. While that story is one tucked away for me, I can say that it took a bit of forgiveness and a few tears in order to sit and listen.

That year, I decided to play it at our contemplative service as a form of reflective prayer.  I knew it was a risk–I’d never played something this contemporary.  The storyteller’s interpretation takes some poetic liberty and the intent doesn’t whitewash the scriptural narrative.

And yet, I could not have found a more beautiful way to invite our small congregation into a personal connection with the meaning of Advent or who we are called to be as Christians.

After the service, people walked up to me quietly, contemplatively.  I received hugs and signs of gratitude for the service, and yet, it was the song that had captured their hearts.  Personal comments were whispered in my ear and warm tears baptized my robe.  The song had not found me, it had found us.

Last year, I was invited to play it again as part of our Advent season.  I watched people settle in as I announced our new tradition and invited people to listen and pray.  As I sat in the pew up in the chancel area, I took a moment to sit in the peace of our Sanctuary and hold sacred space for the congregation.  Many of us had been struggling with the transition in our nation after the election and wondering what a new “wilderness” might hold.  The song invited people to find hope even in the midst of so much uncertainty.

I have been listening to the song for a couple of weeks now, and it is the only Christmas song I listen to throughout the year.  The words, the melody, and the storyteller’s voice seem to ground me in the simplicity of the season.

More importantly, though, this song affirms that no matter what we are wrestling with personally, culturally or politically, the birth of a babe brought Love into this world–Love that can fill up soul searchers like you and me.

Listen here.

“Christmas Song”    Dave Matthews & Tim Reynolds

She was his girl; he was her boyfriend
She’d be his wife & make him her husband
A surprise on the way, any day, any day
One healthy little giggling dribbling baby boy
The wise men came three made their way
To shower him with love
While he lay in the hay
Shower him with love love love
Love love love
Love love was all around

Not very much of his childhood was known
Kept his mother Mary worried
Always out on his own
He met another Mary for a reasonable fee, less than
Reputable was known to be

His heart was full of love love love
Love love love
Love love was all around
When Jesus Christ was nailed to his tree
Said, “Oh, Daddy-o I can see how it all soon will be
I came to shed a little light on this darkening scene
Instead I fear I spill the blood of my children all around”

The blood of our children all around
The blood of our children all around
The blood of our children all around
So I’m told so the story goes
The people he knew were

Less than golden hearted–gamblers and robbers
Drinkers and jokers, all soul searchers
Like you and me

Rumors insisted he soon would be
For his deviations
Taken into custody by the authorities
Less informed than he.
Drinkers and jokers. all soul searchers
Searching for love love love
Love love love
Love love is all around

Preparations were made
For his celebration day
He said, “Eat this bread and think of it as me; drink this wine and dream it will be”
The blood of our children all around
The blood of our children all around
The blood of our children all around

Father up above, why in all this hatred you fill me up with love
Fill me love love love. . .
Father up above, why in all this anger do you fill me up with love
Fill me love love love. . .
And the blood of our children all around.

 

 

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