I enjoy Jimmy Buffet’s music, even though I know he’s only an average musician, but one who has an above average ability to know what his audience wants and deliver it to them. I doubt there will be a symposium some day at which the works of Aaron Copland, Duke Ellington, and Jimmy Buffet will be compared and contrasted. Never mind all that; I am a Buffet fan, mostly because, for years, has helped me chill-out when I am nearly worn-out.
One of Buffett’s songs has long been a kind of prayer. They lyrics aren’t all that lyrical, but in a simple, straightforward way they have expressed, on many occasions, the yearning of my soul:
Nothing can tear you apart
If your keep living straight from the heart
Though you know that you’re gonna hurt some
The magic will come
If you keep living straight from the heart
You will know where to stop and to start
Once you see than no one really wins
Then the magic begins
Bring back the magic
Don’t make life so tragic
Bring back the magic
Don’t make life so tragic.
“Bring back the magic” is just another way of praying as David prayed in Psalm 51: “Restore to me the joy of your salvation.” It is a way of asking God to renew our faith and reestablish our hope. It is pleading with God for a rebirth of our spirits, a revitalization of our souls. O God, enchant us again. Astonish us again. “Bring back the magic.”
We’re headed into the blinding busyness of the holiday season. It would be wonderful if followers of Jesus could make of the Advent and Christmas seasons a time to seek a return of the magic—a renewal of the mystery and joy of faith. Advertisers and retailers will try to convince us that the magic of this season is to be found in the stuff they have to sell us. We will be pressured by our wistful desires to cast a spell of nostalgia and put a Norman Rockwell-Martha Stewart-Thomas Kincade aura around our less-than-perfect homes.
However, the truth is that what we are looking for will come as a gift of God. All we can do is open our hearts by being honest with ourselves and with God about our hopes and dreams, our sins and fears, our strengths and possibilities, our hurts and disappointments. God brings back the magic; we are responsible for living straight from the heart.