"In those days Caesar Augustus declared that everyone throughout the empire should be enrolled in the tax lists. This first enrollment occurred when Quirinius governed Syria. Everyone went to their own cities to be enrolled. Since Joseph belonged to David's house and family line, he went up from the city of Nazareth in Galilee to David's city, called Bethlehem, in Judea." (Luke 2:1-4).
Why do we know about Jesus' birth? At some point, those who witnessed the events took time to write down what they saw and heard. Christmas songwriters, storytellers, and poets attempt to capture the holidays in their lyrics and words. In the same way, it might help us better appreciate this Advent season if every day we were to write down a few words that help us remember moments that lifted our spirits or touched our hearts. When we recall our blessings, life is placed in perspective. More than writing notes for ourselves, though, the holiday season is a time when we often write notes to others. It's a wonderful time of year to simply say "thank you" or "I love you" or "I am so glad you are a part of my life." This is the true power of the written word.
Ace Collins tells the story of "There's a Song in the Air," lost for three decades. Published as a poem in a book that sold few copies, Josiah Holland's inspired words describing the birth of Jesus as a new song might have simply disappeared into obscurity if Karl Harrington had not been given the task of assembling a new Methodist Hymnal in 1904. Years after Holland had died, Harrington read the poem and composed music to finally complete this carol that we now sing:
There's a song in the air! There's a star in the sky!
There's a mother's deep prayer and a baby's low cry.
And the star rains its fire while the beautiful sing,
for the manger of Bethlehem cradles a king!