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23 December 2008

The Lords, They Are a-Leaping

As a master of stating the obvious, I should note that it's almost Christmas. I've thought about this, and while there's really not much I want for Christmas, what I'd really like for my wife to get me is ten lords a-leaping.

That may be a pretty festive thing to get, but I'm not sure why. It's been drummed into our heads by one of what I'm sure is a favorite Christmas carol of all of ours (drummed by the 12 drummers drumming, no doubt). The song has a long, rich history, I think, and it is a very Christmassy song -- it even says "Christmas" a dozen times -- but truthfully, I don't think that I'd want ten lords a-leaping. If I knew exactly what they were (surely it's not a bunch of guys jumping around...?), maybe it'd be a pretty cool gift, but for now I think I'll pass. Especially when I look at this picture. I checked, the vast, end-all, be-all repository of online knowledge, and was disappointed that it didn't help to clarify anything for me: "The meaning of 'The Twelve Days of Christmas,' if it has any, has yet to be satisfactorily explained." So we sing it (or listen to it) and really don't know what it means, but it gets us in a great holiday mood (or annoys us as much as "99 Bottles of Your Preferred Beverage On the Wall").

Are we allowed to do that in worship? We sing, "We give You glory," and I'd like to think that we all know what that means and believe it and embrace it as our prayer. But what exactly does it mean to you when you sing it? It sounds good and holy, it's been sung by tons of saints over the ages, and it's said in the Bible, so it's got a great history. But it means...?

Or how about, "You alone are worthy"? "I worship You"? Or a line from one song I like: "All creation cries to You; worshiping in spirit and in truth..."?

Can we take these things and sing them personally to our Father -- and have them mean something to Him -- without knowing what we're singing, or without meaning what we're singing? Is that the kind of offering we should give?


Jeff said...

Spot on! My feelings, exactly.

No, what do you propose we do to generate a culture among the worshipers in our local congregations that promotes singing that which we ACTUALLY MEAN?


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