Shared at Church of the Apostles, Seattle
December 24, 2011
Earlier this week, while stuck in holiday traffic, I heard a story on NPR about birds and noise. Apparently the ever louder, human-created sounds of the city are making it almost impossible for birds to recognize each other’s songs. Intrigued, I read some more in articles titled: “To Flirt In Cities, Birds Adjust Their Pitch” and “Noise Pollution Causing Songbirds To Cheat On Each Other.” A more scholarly version put it this way: “Human-generated noise pollution now permeates natural habitats worldwide, presenting evolutionarily novel acoustic conditions unprecedented to most landscapes.”
Now, maybe the analogy is a stretch, but at Christmas, I feel a little like those songbirds trying to hear the true call of their beloved – amid counterfeit melodies that masquerade as the real thing. We seem to be surrounded by competing versions of the “Christmas spirit.” Idyllic scenes of family around the fireplace. Doorbuster sales, set to a soundtrack that tells us this is the “most wonderful time of the year.” Even at church, we have cute pageants complete with shepherds in bathrobes and sheep with cotton ball noses. We sing songs about silent nights and silent babies, away in a manger.
But is any of this real? Is this what Christmas is about?