By Elisa Morgan
As I stand in church in December and sing "O Holy Night, " I am pulled into reflecting on the utter holiness of God. Then I connect this holy time to the other great hymn: "Holy, Holy, Holy." It's not a Christmas Carol, so to speak. But it tells the story of the season in traditional rhyme, beat and meaning.
I love the harmony. Rich baritone. Brave soprano and tenor. Edgy alto.
I love the words. Complicated, fancy God-words that beckon me up to a world that's better.
But perhaps best of all, I love what happens in my heart when these words are sung repetitively. They take on a trinity of meanings that weave the Christmas story through my soul.
First of course, is holy. Holy. Pure. God-like. Perfect. Holy, Holy, Holy is the Lord God Almighty. Truly he is. I think of how "other than me" he is. Beyond me. Better than me. And then I think of the verse in the Bible in Matthew 5:48 where God's holy Son, Jesus, challenges us to "Be holy as your heavenly father is holy." Me? Impossible.
Until I realize - timidly at first and then bolting headlong into the fact - that because the Father God gave his "only begotten Son" - as a baby born in a manger who grew to a man who died on the cross for the sins of all humankind - people like you and me have a decent shot at drawing near to this holiness. In our every day lives and in the hereafter.
Second comes the polar opposite of holy - holey. Holey. And once again, here's me. Holey, Holey, Holey am I. A woman with Swiss cheese holes of impatience and selfishness. A wife with punctured imperfections. A leader whose cracks reveal less than my best offering.
Yet my holeyness can provide a place for God's healing power to work. A canvas where he paints new chances every morning. A mosaic of fragmented pieces that form a work of beauty. An example where others find room for their less-than-bestness to still matter.
Third comes a concept that completes the circle of holy - wholly. Wholly. God's holiness plus my holeyness totals a wholly work. Complete. Healed. Better than before. Made right. Full. Redeemed. Whole. Wholly, Wholly, Wholly is God's work in his people and in his world.
His holiness plus my holeyness yield a whollyness that shapes and changes my life, my family, my marriage, my world.
Holy. Holey. Wholly! Lord God Almighty! Early in the morning our song shall rise to Thee! Holy. Holey. Wholly! Merciful and mighty! God in three Persons. Blessed Trinity.
Have a holy, holey, wholly Christmas.
Elisa Morgan is an author and speaker and the cohost of Discover the Word and contributor to Our Daily Bread. Her books include The Beauty of Broken, Hello, Beauty Full, and She Did What She Could. Connect with Elisa @elisa_morgan on Twitter, on Facebook and elisamorganauthor on Instagram.