XMAS MUSICIt's amazing how a line, a chorus or even an entire song seems to know us better than we know ourselves — or better express what we're feeling, at the very least. The best songwriters probably have the gift of teaching.

After celebrating several dozen Christmases here on earth, I thought I'd heard songs about the Christmas story and season sung from every possible angle. But then the song, "I Need Christmas" from Daniel Doss came along.

Not a big name — he had some nominal success in Christian music circles in the mid-2000s and is well known around the Nashville area — but his new Christmas song is just what I was looking for this year. It’s not even new.

He wrote and released it himself last year, but it landed on my desk on the first day of November 2021. As the song begins, the words identify with the weight we've collectively carried the past couple of years:

I need reason again to sing

I need peace here on earth

I need His joy in this world

Like I never have before

But then it gets personal, acknowledging the questions, pain and struggles that seem to never go away.

When the early Christians celebrated Christmas, the focus was on the birth of Christ and the true gifts He brought into this world: love, joy and peace.

For centuries, we've crowded the season with all sorts of extra traditions and expectations. 2020 gave us a taste of a simplified Christmas. There were no parties, gifts arrived in Amazon boxes and many church services and family gatherings were celebrated through phone or computer screens.

Despite sadness over the loss of connection, the slower pace we gained opened my eyes all the more to the true meaning of Christmas. And now — Christmas 2021, I was ready to be reminded that Jesus — Creator of the entire universe — chose to live in the world He created as one of us.

In the Daniel Doss song he reminds us of His humanity:

Jesus had problems, He had family

And sometimes those were one and the same

He had friends and, He had betrayers

But showed us how to love them anyway

He had vision, He had dreams

No one understood and not many believed

He had loved ones that passed away

Oh it’s good to know He understands our pain

That's what we need to hear. That's what we need to remember. Jesus has been showing us the way from the very beginning.

So celebrate the sweet little baby in the manger, but don't stop there. Follow the baby who grows into a man showing us how to treat others with kindness, correct others in love and honor relationships at home and everywhere we go.

Follow Him as He teaches us to trust God and His plan for man-kind. It's a journey, and somewhere along the way you'll look up and realize you've reached the point — as in the song — that we have a responsibility and say: I’ll be Christmas this year. I'll remind everyone.

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