Asking the question, “Is it black or is it white”, is asking about polar opposites and frequently the answer may be that it is neither, it is somewhere in between. This will mean any shade at all on that spectrum which puts me in mind of the recent book made into a film, Fifty Shades of Grey. I have neither read the book or seen the film but in terms of this discussion it is not a bad title; not that I would choose to use it as it might mislead potential readers before they even visit the site – that is, even more than usual perhaps!
The title was conjured up by watching the Big Sing (Songs of Praise) on television over the recent holiday season. If you missed it, you missed a treat but if you don’t mind listening to Christmas Carols in January it is still available on iplayer (must remember to ask for commission!) They were all the old favourites that really make Christmas for me, and sum up what it is all about. My current incapacity meant that I did virtually all my shopping online thereby avoiding the secular Christmas songs that belt out with gusto that sends me running for the exit. I certainly won’t mind if I never hear, “So Here It Is Merry Christmas”again.
A chance meeting with a long standing friend, in the run-up to Christmas, has stayed with me ever since. Where I was thinking I hope I avoid songs such as that mentioned she, however, said how much she loved December with it’s emphasis on the birth of our Lord, the preparations being made to celebrate the life of Christ and what it means for us. The carols, telling out the Christmas story. It has turned my whole thought process around. I shall still do all I can to avoid the commercial, and the naff aspect, of it all but I shall think most of what Christmas means for me, my family and our world. If ever we needed Jesus, we sure need him now!
Back to the Big Sing. One thing that made it for me was the sight of a black man conducting the orchestra. The enthusiasm of his body language, the joy on his face as each carol was sung was a real delight, worship in poetry and motion. Was it black or was it white? It was all things to all people for those whose hearts are open to the gospel message, and long may it continue to be.