The concluding conversation of one of my courses this semester centered on marks of discipleship. What makes a disciple of Christ? What makes someone a Christian? As informed as a room full of graduate students studying scripture could be, our conversation sat at the brink of mere speculation. Informed speculation, but still just speculation. The mystery of the fate of the rich young ruler, Zacchaeus, the woman who anointed Jesus' feet with her tears, and so many others forced us deeper into scripture, asking what Luke wants us to know about following Christ.

What does it mean to follow Christ in 21st century North America? I am pretty sure that owning one day, 18 hours, 33 minutes and 18 seconds of Christmas music isn't part of Christian discipleship. But I do. I have 36 versions of Silent Night that could play for over 2 hours in consecutive, non-stop Silent Nighting.

It's ridiculous because I don't even like Christmas music that much. I am not one of those nutters that starts playing Christmas music before Thanksgiving and then has to get her fill mid-July because "OMG, it just makes me so happy." I like Christmas music an average amount. Which is to say, I like Advent hymns the most and if Perry Como comes on, I'll probably crank it up. At the same time, I listen to other music in December because I can only take so much sugar in my ears.

And yet, my computer houses a lot of Christmas music. The majority of it lauding the coming Savior's birth who will radically change the world, bringing peace and making all things new. Apparently, my consumption of audible bytes stands outside of this newness. I'm fairly certain the song I've listened to the most in this engorged collection of holiday tunes, Christmas (Baby Please Come Home), drives a muted, subtle, and dulling wedge between my heart and the Lord who came into this fierce and wild world to save all of us. I stand convicted of my own ideation of discipleship, a rich young ruler believing herself to be a follower of the law but cannot sell all of her things, turn away from her commercialized Baby Jesusware and follow Christ.

I don't even know how to follow up that paragraph without relativizing the seriousness of the situation.

Lord, have mercy.

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