What Bill Mallonee really wants to say is...
It’s December and I’m lost summarises how I feel about music around this time of year. Maybe it’s the stark contrast between the story of a vulnerable God showing up in a violent, bloody world and the all too familiar nativity plays and Christmas music that neglect a major part of that story. I feel lost because none of the Christmas music seems to engage with any of the darkness we find in God’s story or our human experiences.
Which is why I was excited to stumble across a piece of music called "It's December & I'm Lost" by Bill Mallonee. The track is hauntingly beautiful and was inspired by the English mystic and hermitess, Julian of Norwich, she lived in the 1300s taking up space around the same time as the Plague was reaping havoc throughout Europe. As you’ll hear, her prayers and utterances seem to focus on God’s message that all shall be well even though it only looks dark.
And as impressive as the piece is, the reason I wanted to share some of Bills music with you was so I could share his explanation for why he released a Christmas album. May his words linger with you also…
What I Really Wanna Say Is...
by: bill mallonee
People ask me about Jesus sometimes: "How do you know? How do you know He's real? How do you know He's really there?"
Most of the answers we give people seem to border on something like an intellectual insult or some form of academic pontificating from some higher moral ground. I've learned to discount those responses, even when i find myself resorting to them...
"Well," I say, "you can talk to Him. Just like a Friend. Ask Him to "show" Himself to you. Ask Him: "Why is the world is such a broken place?" Ask Him: "Why are we so broken within ourselves?"
And, while you're at it, ask Him why everything & everyone hurts.
And then, of course, you have to learn to listen.
But, it's "listening" in a different way.
Christmas. Most of mankind's grandest hopes are wrapped up in flesh & blood of Him who they call Jesus, the Saviour of the world. He came at a time when the ancient world was starving for love. Caste systems were inviolable and military might "made right." Into that world appears Christ. With a Sermon on some Mountain guaranteed to blow your mind.
People tend to forget just how "disowned" he was. Right off the top. We forget that He was disowned by the authorities both political & religious. God "scandalizes" us by deciding to "appear" among the meek, the lowly, the poor, the marginalized. He "scandalizes" our sensibilities still to this day.
As a kid I knew at an early age all the joys and expectations of the Advent & Christmas narratives (whether they are history or memories nuanced with touches of zealous imagination); They somehow seeped into this small child's imagination and have been inspiring him ever since.
Jesus. The Mystery we are compelled to love.
It often happens that the people who are supposed to "represent" Him, have done the worst and bloodiest damage throughout mankind's dismal history, I have all sympathy with those who feel they must "turn away" from such representations of Christ, the man of Peace.
Christ seems to "take us where we're at."
I'm convinced He's more concerned about each of us 'learning His heart." And then trying to live it out, however stumbling we may be in our "first steps." We begin, by accepting our acceptance. We begin by recognising our deep need and broken-ness. An empty cup he seems to be all-too-ready to fill.
But, yes: You learn to listen in a different sort of way. For He will speak.
Then the simple exchanges of just talking to Him daily & listening become a way of transformation from within and into the world in which we live. We get use to our own skin.
And then, by God's Grace, we learn to love the spirits of our fellow travellers. Our brothers & sisters.
Even our enemies...
The world is starving for such manifestations of that Love.
That's some of what these songs are about....
Merry, Holy, Happy Christmas...and Joy & courage on your journey.
It’s a straight copy and paste but when a meditation stays with you as long as this one has, you have to pass it on. But don’t stop there if you enjoyed Bills music you can always listen and purchase more of it, including the above mentioned album from bandcamp and it wouldn't hurt to read some of his other reflections to, he has an incredible faith. Happy Christmas and as always enjoy!