by Cathy Ballantine
As I said in my previous blog, I don’t like most Christmas Carols. Especially the ones that sing about snow and sleigh bells. I don’t relate to those songs - Christmas in Australia is as far from snow and sleigh bells as you can get. For some reason, it seems to have a "real" Christmas, we have to cling to the northern hemisphere climate. It's all very romantic to think about, but our reality is the complete opposite. As for the traditional carols, I find them to be a bit slow and boring.
I will admit I’m quite partial to Bucko and Champs Christmas albums. They are a good laugh and capture Aussie humour. I also quite like other Christmas songs that are a change from the traditional carols.
Believe it or not, I used to organise our church Carols in the Park Event. The thing I looked forward to most was not the program that we’d run at dusk, but the interaction with the community. Creating an event that would draw people in and give opportunities for our church congregation to serve the community. It was a great opportunity to get out of our comfort zone, out of our church building and show the community that we were real people and meet them on a neutral ground, where people would be comfortable to come and be part of it.
Despite my grinchiness about Carols, there is one Christmas Carol that I love.
Years ago, my friend’s family and mine began going into Southbank for the Christmas Fireworks. We have a swim, dinner, watch the fireworks and then walk across into the city to watch the light show at City Hall. Our teenage/young adult children are recognising this as a tradition of our families and love it! They look forward to it every year.
One of the first firework shows we watched gave me goosebumps. At the explosive end of the firework show, when there are multiple bangs going off at once, the song playing was O Holy Night. As I reflected on the words, I wondered what the Shepherds saw on the night Jesus was born.
“And suddenly, there was with the angel a multitude of heavenly host praising God and saying: Glory to God in the highest, and on earth pace and goodwill toward men.”
As a heavenly chorus filled the sky and praising the newborn king, it must have been so much better than a fireworks finale.
What a sign! As I sat up and took notice of the message of the song with the fireworks, the shepherds also sat up and took notice. They jumped up and followed the instructions, left their sheep and went to worship the new born king.
How often does God speak to us and we don’t sit up and take notice? Perhaps sometimes, God sends a ‘firework” to get our attention. Will we jump up and follow his calling?
Cathy Ballantine has been a part of the Qld Baptist Women's Team since 2010. She works part time as State Administrator and Uniform Shop Manager for The Boys’ Brigade Qld and has a home based Admin business. Cathy is married to Matt and they have 4 children - Declan, Brenna, Jacob and Megan. They have been a part of Salisbury Baptist Church since 1999.
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