We’ve been good, but we can’t last …
It’s been over 50 years since a trio of Chipmunks (that’s right, Chipmunks) made a lasting contribution to the culture of Christmas with a little song most of us know very well.
For sure, “The Chipmunk Song” has enjoyed lasting appeal since its release in the late fall of 1958. Multiple generations have had the opportunity to sing along with Alvin, Simon and Theodore while they decorated the tree; drove to Grandma’s or waded through wrapping paper on Christmas morning. Passing through the years -- from vinyl grooves to digital files -- the song retains all its charms, highlighted by
’s passionate plea for a hula hoop. Alvin
However, while that plea may have stolen the show, the song’s message is more about Christmas in the present than Christmas presents. Sure, a hula hoop might be a nice reward, but Alvin and the boys were really seeking relief from their efforts to be good. “We’ve been good, but we can’t last” they confess.
Indeed, who can?
Right there, in the middle of this much-loved novelty song, we hear the echoes of humanity’s enduring plea ... the plea for relief from our own efforts at redemption.
A plea for mercy and grace.
This cry for relief pre-dates Christmas; born thousands of years earlier, during mankind’s futile efforts to find redemption under the Old Testament law. That law was a burden no man could bear and a standard no man could meet. If being “good” depended on meeting that standard then, truly, goodness could not last.
But then, Christmas finally arrived.
There was Jesus – Christmas in flesh and blood; bringing with Him redemption and salvation. Mankind’s plea was answered by a Gift we did not deserve and grace flooded over our futile efforts to achieve “good.” By grace, through faith, we could last.
Many places in Scripture reference this wonderful news, including the Apostle Paul’s plain and simple words in Galatians 2:16: “Nevertheless knowing that a man is not justified by the works of the Law,” writes the Apostle, “but through faith in Christ Jesus.”
There is no more effort, no more law, no more worrying about the staying power of our goodness. In place of all that? Faith.
This year, when you hear Alvin and the boys renew their plea for Christmas’ quick arrival, you will find simple holiday joy in their words. You will smile at the thought of a Chipmunk and a hula hoop and maybe even at the thought of your own childhood impatience once associated with the holiday.
However, my wish for you is that you will find your greatest joy in the realization that Christmas stays. The holiday celebration may come once a year, but the meaning of the season, the Savior, never leaves. His Word tells us so.
Yes, for as long as The Chipmunk Song is played,
will still want that hula hoop. However, for as long as eternity rolls – we can enjoy the gift of grace. With that gift, we can indeed last. Alvin