Taking this song out of order in our review of Randy Stonehill's Welcome to Paradise for seasonal reasons... "Christmas Song For All Year 'Round" is the penultimate song of the album, and in several ways, it packs the hardest punch. Not musically, ...

 

Christmas Song For All Year 'Round and more...



Christmas Song For All Year 'Round


Taking this song out of order in our review of Randy Stonehill's Welcome to Paradise for seasonal reasons...

"Christmas Song For All Year 'Round" is the penultimate song of the album, and in several ways, it packs the hardest punch. Not musically, because it sounds like a Christmas lullaby, but the poignant, simple, bittersweet lyric does far more than tug at the heart...grasp it with both hands and wring it dry is more like it.




I wonder if this Christmas they'll begin to understand
The Jesus that they celebrate is much more than a man
'Cause the way the world is, I don't see how people can deny
The only way to save us was for Jesus Christ to die

And I know that if St. Nicholas was here, he would agree
That Jesus gave the greatest gift of all to you and me
They led him to the slaughter on a hill called Calvary
And mankind was forgiven when they nailed him to the tree

But most of all the children, they're the ones I hope will learn
That Jesus is our savior and he's going to return
And Christmas isn't just a day and all days aren't the same
Perhaps they'll think about the word and see it spells his name

And I know that if St. Nicholas was here, he would agree
That Jesus gave the greatest gift of all to you and me
They led him to the slaughter on a hill called Calvary
And mankind was forgiven, mankind was forgiven
We were all forgiven when they nailed him to the tree

So Merry Christmas. Merry Christmas. Merry Christmas.

I wonder if this Christmas they'll begin to understand
©1976 King of Hearts Publishing


 

*  *  *  *  *  *  *

Truth is...when I sang this song for my former-girlfriend's mother (yes, we were still friends, even when the dating stopped), she balked at the phrase "led him to the slaughter." She said it sounded too violent. Probably what led me to write "Keep Him Away in a Manger," which you can read here next week.
    
 

Stay and Get Your Love


One doesn't necessarily expect to be moved to tears because of a television commercial. Especially a television commercial featuring the poppy little 1974 tune by Redbone, "Come and Get Your Love."

And yet...



The perfect casting, the fun song, the subtle acting, the storyline of "This is fun/this is lame/this is love"...oh my yes.


 

Truth is...It may take a lifetime to fully appreciate some family members, but the payoff for hanging in there is well worth the investment. And hang on to that thought the next time you start thinking about switching churches for anything other than deep theological differences.
    
 

The Cost of Forgiveness


Colossians 3:13 is used quite a bit to encourage believers to forgive people who have wronged them, and rightly so. I mean, just read it:

"Bear with each other and forgive one another if any of you has a grievance against someone. Forgive as the Lord forgave you."

Nice and simple in the New International Version, right? You should forgive others because, after all, God forgave you.

That's the way it's always been taught to me, but just yesterday I started really thinking about that last phrase: "...as the Lord forgave you."

Paul didn't say "because the Lord forgave you." He said "as." As in, "Forgive in the same way the Lord forgave you."

My standard flesh-out-the-meaning translation, the Amplified Bible, says it like this: "just as the Lord has forgiven you, so should you forgive."

And then it struck me.

Think of what God did in order to forgive you! Yahweh doesn't just flippantly override His perfect justice and say, "Don't worry about all the wrong you've done. I've decided it doesn't matter."

No.

In order to satisfy justice and yet offer us forgiveness, the God of all creation made the greatest sacrifice of all. "Greater love has no one than this: to lay down one's life for one's friends." (John 15:13 NIV)


It cost Jesus His very life to be able to forgive us. Why would we expect to be able to forgive others without it costing us something? For example, when I've forgiven someone, I've promised to never bring the matter up again...and that's a hard promise to keep. How many times have I wanted to say, "But what about the time I forgave you for...?!!?"

Truth is...forgiveness has never been easy, but for any kind of relationship to work, or just to be able to walk through life without the burden of keeping a grudge intact, it's absolutely necessary.

    
 

Musical Ventriloquism: The Winner (High Card)


Just because someone sings a song in the first person doesn't mean the singer is being autobiographical.

That shouldn't be a shocking revelation, considering all the songs out there that are basically Jesus singing: "Rise Again" by Dallas Holm, "That Where I Am There You May Also Be" by Rich Mullins, etc.

But there are other songs where the singer being the voice for someone else isn't quite as obvious. Case in point, "The Winner (High Card)" by Randy Stonehill. It's the third song on the Welcome to Paradise album, which means it's still on the side expressing the lostness and searching of the human condition without Christ.




I'm a wheeler, a dealer
the man who's in control
Don't talk about my feelings
Don't talk about my soul
Well you know my time is money
so I've got no time to spend
But when you've got some business
won't you come on by again

I'm the winner and I made it to the top
and I took it all just like I planned
I'm the man who holds the high card in his hand

I'm an owner, a loaner
a master at the game
I've got that golden Midas touch
and people know my name
There were times I held the low cards baby
Well I knew they weren't enough
But I just kept my poker face
and won it on the bluff

I'm the winner and I made it to the top
and I took it all just like I planned
I'm the man who holds the high card in his hand

I'm not in trouble
I have no need to pray
My profits double
Day by day by day by day by day

It's not easy to see me 
I'm an influential man
And I never needed anyone
to build my promised land
So don't tell me about Jesus
'cause He's just too hard to sell
And I never trust in strangers
that's the first rule I learned well

I'm the winner and I made it to the top
and I took it all just like I planned
I'm the man who holds the high card in his hand

I'm the winner look at me now I'm the winner

©1976 King of Hearts Publishing


 

Truth is...[From Stonehill's liner notes for the 25th anniversary CD] I told [Jim Steele] I wanted to write a song about the carnal counterfeit version of success that a dark world often uses to seduce our hungry hearts...and Jim jump-started the lyric singing, "I'm an owner, a loaner, the man who's in control." I said, "Yep, that's the right approach! If we write a preachy song about what an empty lifestyle being a corporate carnivore is, it will be much easier for people to ignore. Let's write it from the 'first-person perspective' instead. Let's tell the story through the eyes of the hollow victor. That way, the lie is exposed by the tongue of its' victim!"

    
 

The Big Ten In Simple Terms


Exodus 10:1-17 is where a person can find what we've come to call The Ten Commandments. Through several centuries, they've been respected as a good way to live your life, whether you particularly believe in God or not.

In an effort to get them off the page and into our lives, allow me to offer them in a more-understandable format than the traditional Thou Shalt Nots.


1.  I am your only God. Keep it that way.

2.  Accept no substitutes or representations. Why? Because not only am I "jealous" and do I inflict judgment (x4), but I am also abundantly merciful and loving (x1,000).

3.  Don't use my name lightly, frivolously, or in making false affirmations.

4.  Honor and trust me by resting one day a week. Keep that day set apart for my purposes in you.

5.  Treat your parents with all due obedience and courtesy.

6.  Don't murder.

7.  Don't cheat on your spouse  -  even if you aren't married yet.

8.  Don't take what isn't yours.

9. Don't tell lies about anyone.

10.  Don't jealously desire what someone else has.

Truth is...It really is as simple as that. And yet, even with just this short list, we still find ourselves in desperate need of a savior. This Thanksgiving, I choose to be thankful that Yahweh met that desperate need.
    
 
 
   
You Might Like