I’ve not been much in to Christmas music this year. I don’t know why. It’s been a busy season, so maybe that’s it. I’m also adjusting to San Antonio Christmas. San Antonio has its own beautiful traditions that happen around Christmastime including the lights on the Riverwalk and tamales on Christmas Eve, but I’ve lived my whole life in places that were cold and snowy on Christmas: Chicago, Grand Rapids, Princeton, Detroit. It doesn’t feel like Christmas music when it’s sunny and green. There is one song that I’ve listened to almost every day since I found it a few weeks ago, it’s a song, called “Real” by Nicole Nordeman. The song is from the perspective of a person who is looking at a manger scene and imagines Mary and Joseph saying to her “let me be real.”
I’ve been wondering what it means to let Jesus be real. The word “real” has so many different meanings: to be authentic, to be true, to be accurate. As a Christian and a Pastor, it’s my life’s work to make Jesus real, not just in my own life, but in the lives of people I feel called to love and serve and reach out to.
One of the things I love about this song is that it challenges us to think of Mary and Joseph and the baby Jesus as real beings, not plastic statues with no soul. I think of Mary, in particular, and I picture her as strong and brave, but also small and dusty. I think that walk to Bethlehem was hard, and I think she probably cried and screamed when her baby was born.