December 14: The Coventry Carol

 The Coventry Carol

I’m not in the mood for Christmas Carols today.  I wonder how Newtown, CT ever gets into the mood.  But, remarkably there is a carol that fits.  The Coventry Carol is a lullaby of a mother who didn’t get to rock her child to sleep.  Crafted after the slaughter of the innocents, this carol fits today.  Herod raged and massacred all the young boys in Bethlehem to eliminate his rival King.

Bad stuff happens.  Evil won the day.  Will the grief and mourning ever end?  That is a fitting tone for Dec 14 in New England.  How does one begin to even consider Christmas when they’re mourning the loss of a child?  Time does not heal this wound.  Time only gives the appearance of “getting better.”  It just gives the mourner time to get used to the pain.

Mary would know similar pain, a mother saying good-bye to her child.  Simeon predicted it in Luke 2:34-35 as the baby Jesus was brought into the Temple for the first time.  I wonder if she felt survivor guilt like the many families who get to tuck their children in to bed tonight in Newtown and across the region.

The Coventry Carol is a vital piece for today, and for every celebration of Christmas.   It reminds us that Christmas is not all about warm fuzzies, and opening presents, and elves, and candy canes.  It’s about death and life.  The Coventry Carol reminds us exactly why the first Christmas is necessary.  Our world is horribly broken, and God sent His only Son to fix it.  Jesus was born to die so that we might live.  It’s the only news that lifts my mood today.  Easter.  That’s the Holiday we need to celebrate today, but in order to get to the resurrection we have to make it through Christmas.   Come, Lord Jesus, come quickly.

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