I love Christmas caroling. You know, where you and some friends go door to door singing the Christmas classics in the cold. Someone knocks on the door, the carolers decide what song to begin with, the neighbor opens the door, you sing, wish them merry Christmas and a Happy New Year (that’s the song you always conclude with), and you go on to the next house. Always fun bringing cheer to others!
One year, after moving to a new town, I gathered a few brave souls to go with me to regale the neighborhood with said cheer. We went to our first house, knocked, stepped back and began singing. No one came to the door. Their lights were on and we could see moving shadows through the closed curtains, but no smiling audience opened up to our cheer giving. Undeterred we moved on, reasoning that they were indisposed in some way.
The next house––the same. And the next and pretty much every other door we knocked on produced similar disappointing results. Strangest caroling I’ve ever done, but I convinced my new friends to go to the nearby strip mall and sing in front of the drug store where there’s no door for them to hide behind. Though we ended up having a good time there with a number of willing victims of our unpolished entertainment, it wasn’t quite the same.
Reminds me of the verse that has Jesus saying to us: “Here I am! I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears my voice and opens the door, I will come in and eat with that person, and they with me.” (Revelation 3:20)
Whether we apply this to him at the door of the church where people inside have inured themselves to his voice and carried on with their religious lives apart from their Leader or to pre-christians who are so distracted by their busy lives, it’s the same thing. He’s calling out, and few open the door to hear his song.
They’re home, the lights are on, and you can see activity inside, but for whatever reason they drown out the song of the Lord who loves them enough to brave this cold world and come to their door. No matter how beautifully he sings, no matter how loudly, they either don’t hear him or they do but turn up their own music or TVs.
I wonder if our neighbors suspected that we wanted something from them. Maybe they confused holidays and thought it was like Halloween, and they didn’t have any candy to put into the trick-or-treaters’ plastic jack-o’-lanterns, when in fact, we just wanted to share some hope and happiness.
Is that why so many people (and churches) refuse to open their hearts to Jesus? Are they afraid of what he might demand of them? Maybe his song is just a ruse to get them to open up so he can plunder their house? I suspect that’s the case for some.
Others genuinely don’t hear him calling at all. Their lives are already so full of noise, their own music at such a high decibel, they wouldn’t notice if a bomb detonated in their front yard. No matter how much Jesus turns up the volume, they can’t hear it, so he stations himself in front of Walgreens and sings to the masses who can’t help but notice. Still, most won’t look him in the eye, and pretending he’s not there, run past him and his songster friends into the store to get what seemed so important at the time.
Christmas is great! But Christ himself is greater by far. Enjoy his birthday again and again each year. It’s family, it’s fun (even more so when you go caroling). But it only comes once a year, whereas Jesus and his hope-filled song is interminable. He loves us too much to pass us by even when we have repeatedly failed to open the door to him. Open up to him today. You won’t be disappointed.