Hello Readers. I don’t typically like slow songs in general but in a season of things-gots-to-get-done, slow songs just annoy me. I want to hear something fast paced that matches the speed of thoughts going by in a flurry and the speed of my pen marking off things on my list(s).
But this year I’ve been learning a few life lessons from a very unexpected source…those very same annoying (to me) slow Christmas carols.
It started happening a couple weeks ago when I tuned in my radio to one of those stations only playing Christmas music. You see we sold my car that had satellite radio and the new-to-me used car isn’t smart enough for satellite and I didn’t take the time to update my iPod for my new ride so I tuned in old school style to the radio. At first I had my typical reaction of “gee can’t we speed up the song already, I mean joy to the world and silent night, even silver bells are NOT supposed to go as slow as traffic on 35!”. Then a couple days into it, I was reflecting on why I wasn’t annoyed anymore when the slow carols came on.
Here’s what I learned for life from those once annoyingly slow Christmas carols:
- Singing to slow songs releases the pressure – I’ve been sick off and on with this allergy and weird weather season so I’ve missed some work days and felt an extra layer of internal pressure to take care of work items. But when I sing along to those familiar songs that have been slowed down, the pressure I put on myself releases, my muscles relax because I’m breathing more slowly, and I feel more creative which allows me to actually accomplish those needed tasks. The increased oxygen from breathing slowly as I sang along made a big difference.
- Listening to words that have meaning encourage me – When the songs are slower I can actually think about the words I’m singing and my heart gets engaged in the song. I hear words of joy, words of promise, words of hope, words of worship to a God that is not only powerful and faithful but also near and here now. So much of the work I do is emotionally draining and I need encouragement that is solidly restorative. Amazingly these carols are packed with solid encouragement.
- Phrases from carols also encourage others – Everywhere we look there is news of things that are hard, sad, and too deep for words. When your heart is overwhelmed and your desire to care or offer compassion feels too overwhelming, tune in to some slow Christmas carols and share the true joy that is found is so many Christmas carols. Carol of the Bells says that there is hope being spread for all to hear and that we can throw cares away. Oh Holy Night tells us there is a thrill of hope as our weary world rejoices. Go Tell It On The Mountain tells us while we fear and tremble our God sent us salvation.
- Responding to the invitations in some carols will change our perspective – several songs invite us to “rejoice”, to “release”, to “sing”, to “hope”, to “share” with others, to “go” to others. When life happens it’s easy to loose perspective. Don’t let worry change your perspective. Instead respond to life-giving invitations that are found bundled up in the package of familiar Christmas carols.
Surprisingly I learned these repeatable life lessons once again from those Christmas carols I once just ignored or fast forwarded past. There’s much to be learned in the slow things just as much as there’s much to be done in the fast pace.
While you can, tune into a station online, or go old school with me on the radio, and listen to these venerable slow Christmas carols. Listen for the life lessons packed within that maybe you already knew but this season you might need to hear again.
What’s your favorite Christmas carol and what does it mean to you?
Connect with me and let me know how it goes!
Liz Lawrence, MA, LPC-S is counselor, coach and creative who is passionate about people. She directs a counseling center in Austin, Texas and co-leads the non-profit Renue.Me whose mission is to invest in the dreams of leaders in underprivileged communities around the world. Connect with her at www.lizlawrencelpc.com or www.renue.me
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