All I Want for Christmas Is You

Everywhere we go right now, we hear Christmas music. It plays in shopping malls, department stores, and coffee shops as background noise. It’s piped in everywhere, used to sell products, and to spur us to go shopping and give to charities. I like Christmas music, or at least most of it. A few holiday tunes I could do without. We hum or sing along when we hear one, maybe even do a little jig or tap our foot to the tune. We walk through packed stores hearing these carols. We sing them in church. We hear them on the radio and on the TV. Almost impossible to avoid them, yet we don’t really think about them. I want to take some time to consider their words. We may know, but we’ve never really thought about them, not in real, deep way, anyway.

My hope is that these reflections will help you celebrate the reason for the season and have a deeper appreciation for this time of the year.

Today I want to look at All I Want for Christmas Is You.

A song written by Mariah Carey, Columbia Records released it in 1994 as the lead single from her fourth studio album, Merry Christmas. An up-tempo love song, the instrumentation includes bell chimes and heavy back-up vocals, as well as synthesizers. The song’s lyrics declare that the protagonist does not care about Christmas presents or lights; all she wants for Christmas is to be united with her lover for the holidays.

Carey performed All I Want for Christmas is You during a slew of live television appearances and tours throughout her career. In 2010, Carey re-recorded the song for her second holiday album, Merry Christmas II You, titled All I Want for Christmas Is You (Extra Festive). Critically lauded, with The New Yorker calling it “one of the few worthy modern additions to the holiday canon”. The song was commercially successful, reaching the singles charts of Australia, Japan, the Netherlands, Norway, and the United Kingdom. The song is the most popular and most played Christmas song of the decade in the United Kingdom. Rolling Stone ranked it fourth on its Greatest Rock and Roll Christmas Songs list, calling it a “holiday standard.”

This song has always been touching for me, even more so in the last few years when my yearning for a girlfriend, a soul mate, that special someone to share my life with as grown to be almost unbearable. Only those who have struggled with finding that one person who will get us and smile at us that person who will want to be with us just because will understand how endearing and depressive this song can be. I like this song for its musical emphatic buoyancy and for its brash honesty at what matters most. The perfect Christmas gift would be finding the special someone. I am more hopeful now that that lady truly exists is out there somewhere looking for me. My last relationship was a disaster and while I still love her and send her the best, I know she is not for me and never was. She was only a detour on my journey to that special someone.

Yet, I am not reflecting on this song to gripe about not having found her.

I was walking through the outdoor mall the other day and I heard this song playing. I went right to the usual borderline depressive thoughts about the lack of girlfriend. Then, I heard these lyrics: I just want you for my own. More than you could ever know. Make my wish come true. In a sudden revelation that hit me like lightening I realized I wasn’t singing those words to my future wife, but God was singing those very words to me. I had to stop. Overwhelmed by God’s love for me I was dumbfounded. After a moment, I was able to go on, but that moment has stayed with me.

The good news is that God loves you (yes you) just as you, but way too much to leave you that way. God’s love is radical, fierce, unbelievable, and unconditional. God’s love for us is not only amazing, but cannot be earned. Since it does not depend on us, we cannot lose it. No matter what you have done or have not done, God loves you. God loves you personally. No one, absolutely no one is outside of the love of God. We are all included in the loving embrace of God, because we are created and we are constantly being made in the image of God. God looks at you and loves you. God sees your faults, shortcomings, inadequacies, all the things you’ve done (good and bad), all the things you haven’t done and loves you anyway. God loves you in spite of yourself. God loves you fat thighs and all! God loves you and doesn’t ask you to change to suit his needs and whims. God’s love is not conditional or fickle.

It is not always easy to know and affirm not just with words that God loves you that when God looks at you He smiles. Even for me, who writes about God’s love and is preparing to lead a study on it can be hard to live from God’s love. However, I suspect that when I am able to live from God’s love more and more that I will stumble upon that special someone. Maybe, I am not ready to the kind of person I need to be to hold the relationship I seek. I do suspect that 2013 will find me closer to all the things I hope for. Until then, I just want to live in God’s love the best I can.

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