I’ve read blog posts where writers tend to get super personal and vulnerable, and I’m usually reading them like, “Wow. So brave. 4 for you, Glen Coco. You go, Glen Coco!” in the most unironic, genuine way, of course. Yet today, I must join the ranks and transparently admit that I do not have the Christmas spirit, Sam-I-Am.
I actually don’t remember getting excited about Christmas since I lived with my mother’s family when I was between five and seven years old. Now that I’m an adult, and I work in a church, I have a very different relationship with Christmas, but I’m still not excited. Part of that could be because I experienced many unfortunate events over the past couple of years during the holidays, but even before those took place, I was still “Meh,” about the whole thing. I do get excited about the “churchy” things–the sermon series, the Christmas pageant, everything that integrates theology and the story of Jesus’s birth and life–but it’s the other things that are “Meh.” Outside of the church, I have no Christmas spirit. There is nothing magical in the air. It’s just winter. I’m cold.
Yet, I love worship music. (I was going to write “Christmas music,” but for the next few days, some of the songs I will be writing about are very clearly not about Christmas). Worship music reminds us of the person that this season is all about. It doesn’t matter whether or not I get a white Christmas–in fact, I would very much prefer if I didn’t–or if Santa Claus squeezes his way down the chimney with an iPhone 11 Pro. (Though if you’re listening, a professional camera would be pretty nice).
What matters is glorifying God–the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit–in recognition of God’s purpose in Christmas.
Today’s song, “Alpha and Omega,” comes from Revelation 1.8: ” ‘I am the Alpha and the Omega,’ says the Lord God, who is and who was and who is to come, the Almighty” (NRSV).
You are Alpha and Omega. We worship You, our Lord. You are worthy to be praised. We give You all the glory. You are worthy to be praised.
Yep. That’s it. A simple chorus of worship.
You are Alpha–the first letter of the Greek alphabet. You are the first, coexisting in one with God and God’s Spirit, before anything else was.
You are Omega–the final letter of the Greek alphabet. You are the last. No one will come after you. You are the victor, the last left standing. You have the final word. You are the final Word.
I believe that this is part of the revelation that the wise men received–the three kings from the east who, at least according to legend, came to bring gifts of frankincense, gold, and myrrh and to worship the newborn King of Israel and of the universe. This baby was different from all other babies. This baby was special. This baby would change the world. And a group of wise men–possibly pagan astrologers, but again, I’m hesitant to speculate without hard proof–who were not Jews and did not share the religion of Mary and Joseph (or Miriam and Yosef, as they were called by their people) received a divine revelation from God that this baby is indeed the Alpha and Omega, the One who is worthy of glory, honor, and praise. After all, the men say:
“Where is the child who has been born king of the Jews? For we observed his star at its rising, and have come to pay him homage” (Matt. 2:2, NRSV).
This reminds me of the exchange between Jesus and Peter, where Jesus asks His disciples who they say He is, and Peter says, “You are the Christ. The Son of the Living God.” (Or some variation on that theme.) Then, Jesus essentially says, “You didn’t come to that knowledge on your own but by revelation from God.” I think this is what happened to the wise men. They were acting in response to a revelation that they received from God.
And now this is revelation that we all have through scripture. Jesus’s own words affirm what those wise men were shown by God.