As my toddler wrapped up her “Hail Mary” by repeating me, she slipped up with “Holy Mary, Mother for God…” which got me thinking—if we change Mother of God to Mother for God, what a beautiful reflection! God literally created Mary without sin for the purpose of being His pure and holy mother. She is not only the mother of God but the mother FOR God and for us all! This turned into a broader reflection on phrases and words that you might recognize from various songs. I keep coming back to these to reflect and pray, noticing the importance of each word.

In the popular song “On Eagle’s Wings” (written by Michael Joncas) is a tiny addition of a word that commands attention: “[He will] make you to shine like the sun.” To shine. Not just shine but He will make you to shine. This reminds us of our purpose—we have been created not only to exist but to act! Let’s make our actions reflect God’s intention for our lives, to shine for others.

As we embark on the Christmas Season, I’m also thinking about “We Three Kings of Orient Are” (written by John Henry Hopkins Jr.) and the line about the star: “Guide us to thy perfect light.” I always thought the lyric was about the star. But it can be applied another way. Thy perfect light: Jesus. The star points to Jesus in a manger. The light is Jesus. The guide along the journey is also the destination at the end of it. Mind blown!

And, from another Christian perspective, songwriter Matthew Arnold Thiessen from Relient K gives us this profoundly beautiful refrain in “I Celebrate the Day”: 

And the first time 

That You opened Your eyes did You realize that You would be my Savior

And the first breath that left Your lips 

Did You know that it would change this world forever…

This is definitely worth a listen, as it is a very reflective piece on Our Lord as an infant. Thinking about His first breath is, well, breathtaking—for lack of a better word! Imagine being there for that first breath and sit a moment with Jesus in that manger.

One final reflection for this season of wonder is the entire song “Night of Silence,” played over Silent Night (written by Daniel Kantor). The line especially dear to me is “Breathless love awaits darkened souls, soon will we know of the morning.” We prepare for Christ’s birth this Advent knowing that soon his light will shine through us.

I want to present a challenge to take a few words from the songs you are listening to, and dive deeper into their meaning. Pray with them. With these lyrics, I wish you an inspiring and reflective Christmas, and a joyous new year.