Noel, from the French Noël, means ‘Christmas’ from the Latin word for ‘birth.’ The famous Christmas song, based on Luke 2:8-18, about our Saviour Jesus Christ’s birth is one of the most popular songs everywhere at this time of the year. Almost everyone seems to know it or can pick it up quickly and easily – even in busy shopping malls as it comes over the tannoy.
But what a setting for that real ‘first Noel’! Savvy ‘get-it-out-there’ angels picked neither a church nor the religious people of the day to present their grand production of hallelujah singing to. They chose ordinary humble busy folk.
It’s a day for church alertness to good Christmas timing!
This year many alert churches worldwide have cottoned on to the need to be ‘with-it ‘ in respect to getting the real good news out there and the mindset/ busyness of life for ordinary non-churchgoing people, and, for that matter, even churchgoers!
Recently YouTube has been running with several interesting Christmas snippets. And here’s the ‘out there’ reality behind them all. They’re Christmas events and carolling from around the world organised by churches but NOT in churches but in shopping malls and markets where people – lunchtime workers and shoppers make time to go this month whereas they often can’t get to or won’t go to church.
And perhaps the best 2010 non-church carol ‘spontaneous’ event must be the early November one you’ll find easily on YouTube. Set in a shopping food mall at lunchtime, it’s brilliant! What surprised looks from the surrounding diners and then their delight and joining in. It’s creative taking of an opportunity to get the great Hallelujah Chorus message out there to all ages! Hit http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SXh7JR9oKVE Ignore the sidebars and appreciate!
Point: For years the church in-thing was early Christmas morning services. Then came Christmas Eve carol services. Next were special church events/productions hoping to attract many unsaved. Some churches still operate this way but so many people, including Christians, are just too busy and can’t or won’t attend either. Why? Consider this:
For most people Christmas Eve is a busy time for last minute shopping right up just before closing. Mums and wives are often still preparing family meals for that night and/or the following day. And even many Christians find it difficult to come out for a carol service that night. As for Christmas Day, well it’s really regarded as a family time for relaxation, food, fun and friendship. And, anyway, Jesus’ birth can be family-celebrated at home. It’s no longer an attraction or essential to many people both churchgoers and non-Christians to attend even a short service that day.
Today’s need to be savvy
In talking to people recently, including Christians and youth, about church Christmas Eve and Christmas Day celebrations, even well produced ones, the immediate turned-up eyes response was: ‘Great, but on those days? You’re kidding! That’s not cool.’ And there it is…2010 reality thinking! Truth is that for years ‘the world’ – with all its faults – has got it right with its Christmas presentations! TV, local councils and professional program organisers have run Christmas celebrations with warmly welcomed Christ-glorifying carols at least a couple of weeks beforehand and draw crowds ‘out there’!
It’s great to observe that many churches such as in the YouTube material above have got with it this year. Okay, it’s too late now for other churches to move with the times but may 2011 produce many meaningful changes that will reach ‘ordinary people’ where they’re at with the real Christmas story…God so loving the world as to give the greatest gift of all.
Suggestion: Check out the web for the many, many other Christmas mall/market/centre stories of churches that have got with it! A really clever one is, especially for Google addicts, is http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GkHNNPM7pJA
Enjoy celebrating the season’s real meaning and have a creative exciting new year. Blessings!