One Lent, when my mom was in the hospital and I was spending significant time with her there, I took a break for a late lunch by myself at a nearby Japanese restaurant. While I waited for my bowl of udon noodle soup—my ultimate comfort food–I idly watched people walking by on the street, and just as idly listened to the music playing in the background.
Hmmm, that song sounds familiar, I thought to myself, and then I realized, hey wait a minute, isn’t that O Holy Night? A Christmas carol, in the middle of Lent? I thought my ears must be playing tricks on me. I must really need that bowl of udon. But I kept listening, and the next song was O Come All Ye Faithful. Another Christmas carol?
When the server brought my soup, I said to him, “I’m curious about your music—how do you choose what to play?” But he just shrugged and said, “I don’t know, the manager picks it.”
I listened to more Christmas carols while I had my lunch, watched more people walk by on that beautiful spring day, and thought about how Christmas and Easter go together. My server didn’t seem to know or care, and maybe his manager didn’t mean anything significant by his choice of music either. The subtle instrumentals made for good background music in that quiet restaurant.
For me, hearing the Christmas carols out of season took on added meaning. They reminded me that the Jesus whose birth we celebrate at Christmas, is the same Jesus whose suffering and death we remember during Lent, is the same Jesus whose resurrection we celebrate at Easter. Jesus’ birth, life, death, and resurrection go together. “The Christ event,” as one of my professors used to say. The Christmas carols out of season were not so out of season after all.
Come, Lord Jesus, the comfort and joy of Christmas,
Come, Lord Jesus, the suffering servant of Lent,
Come, Lord Jesus, the risen King of Easter,
I come to you.
Writing Prompt: What are some of your favourite comfort foods and why? In what ways do you hold Christmas, Lent, and Easter together?
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