Music and the Gospel: “Smile,” Sidewalk Prophets

This week’s SPIRIT is about caring for others, being a caregiver and showing compassion for those around us. Whether we care for an elderly person, a child, or someone with a disability, people have remarkable ways of living that can inspire us.  Someone’s capacity for strength and resilience can teach us how to approach each day with optimism and laughter. The song “Smile” is about choosing to smile in the face of adversity and infusing our lives with joy.

Key Lyrics: There’s always a reason / To always choose joy / There’s something deeper / That the world can’t destroy / Smile, when you think you can’t / Smile, get up and dance / Smile, there’s a bigger plan / The storm only lasts for a while / So smile

Questions: When have you had to act as a caregiver to someone else? What have you learned from the person? How can you spread care and compassion this holiday season?

Music and the Gospel: “Everyday Life,” Coldplay

This week SPIRIT focuses on open-mindedness and communication, on discovering what we can find in common with people who hold different beliefs, come from different cultures, and have life experiences unlike our own. We live in a global world with social media and the Internet at our fingertips. We need to learn how to build bridges between ourselves and so many kinds of different others. Coldplay’s song “Everyday Life” reminds us that despite our differences, we are all part of the same human family, we all share the same home. It’s important to remember that we are all equal in the eyes of God.

Key Lyrics: What in the world are we going to do? / Look at what everybody’s going through / What kind of world do you want it to be? / Am I the future or the history? / ‘Cause everyone hurts / Everyone cries / Everyone tells each other all kinds of lies / Everyone falls / Everybody dreams and doubts / Got to keep dancing when the lights go out

Questions: When have you been in conflict or felt frustration with someone from a different background? How might you learn what you have in common? How does listening to the stories of others help you better understand them? When has talking led you to change your mind about someone or something?

Music and the Gospel: “Good Vibes,” Chris Janson

The holidays pull us in many directions. Sometimes we don’t recognize the people most important to us—those who love us, shelter us, feed us—until something forces us to slow down. Waiting can give us time to remember what and who we count on and how fortunate we really are. Chris Janson’s song “Good Vibes” is about slowing down and taking stock of all we have to be thankful for. It’s about appreciating the good things we have in our lives.

Key Lyrics: I’m gettin’ them good vibes / I’m livin’ this good life / I’m breathin’ on God’s time / And I ain’t gonna waste one breath / I’m soakin’ it all up / I got me a full cup / And there ain’t nothin’ gonna spill it / Nothin’ gonna kill it / Wavin’ them worries goodbye / I’m feelin’ them good vibes

Questions: When have you been forced to slow down or wait for something?  How did waiting affect you?  What insights into yourself or the situation did you experience? What are you thankful for this Advent season?

Music and the Gospel: “Lose Control,” Meduza, ft. Becky Hill & Goodboys

Resentment and anger are powerful emotions that can lead us to lose control and say or do things we don’t mean. These feelings can lead us to inflict our own pain on someone else, can make us push away those we love, and resent those who seem to “have it all.” On the other hand, anger can be positive. It can force conversations around issues requiring social change/justice or help us push through a difficult or painful situation. By dealing with our own anger or resentment, we can learn valuable lessons in forgiveness and apologies. Meduza’s song “Lose Control” is about recognizing when our negative emotions are taking over as well as acting on feelings of compassion.

Key Lyrics: Why do I feel like I’m drowning / Like I’m running out of air, ah / Why do I feel like I’m falling / When I’m nowhere near the edge, ah / Just let me know / Can you be the one to hold and not let me go? / I need to know / Could you be the one to call when I lose control?

Questions: Who or what has made you feel angry? How did you deal with it? When have you felt resentful and been able to let the resentment go? When have you made someone else angry? How did this person forgive you?

Music and the Gospel: “When We’re Together,” Idina Menzel & Kristen Bell

Christmas is a time of gift-giving, merry-making, family, and friends. It’s also a time frazzled nerves, fatigue, and stress. In all the rushing back and forth, it can be difficult to remember that Christmas is ultimately a time when we recognize all what we already have and the people in our life. We don’t have to rush around, trying to find the perfect gift and spending a ton of money just to show our appreciation. Instead, we can give our time and attention to the people around us. In the end, that is the most important present we can give to someone. The song “When We’re Together” is about family and friendship, and how just simply being with our loved ones makes every day a holiday.

Key Lines: Sure, it’s nice to open a gift that’s tied up with a perfect bow / But the great present of all was given to me long ago / It’s something I would never trade, it’s the family that we’ve made / ‘Cause when we’re together, I have everything on my list /
And when we’re together, I have all I wished / All around the Christmas tree, there’ll be dreams coming true / But when we’re together, then my favorite gift is you

Questions: What family Christmas traditions do you and your family have? What new tradition would you like to begin? What free or inexpensive Christmas traditions does your family participate in?  What are you most thankful for this holiday season?