Last night I got a no-doubt in-the-flesh confirmation that I was made to Praise the Lord. You might think I got caught up in the moment, but I see it as clear confirmation of all that I have learned on my faith journey this year.
How great our joy!
I have been practicing for Carols for Christmas for nearly 12 weeks. It really took all that time to learn not only notes and melodies, but also relearn breathing and tone and stamina.
And it hasn’t been easy. Two hour practices are a workout. Sunday afternoons are best for “plopping”, but there was no time with Carols practice. Sunday nights became hectic with meal prep and laundering for the week.
But the music nourished my heart and reminded me of the hope of the season. In early November I attended an evening healing service where I prayed for healing for a dear friend. As I was driving home, listening to my practice CD, I found myself half singing and half still praying. The Advent hymn “Come thou long expected Jesus” became “Come thou long expected healing” as my friend has been on a long journey of illness and recovery. And I realized that the hope of Christ’s coming is in all the things He does and teaches. He is our healer, our redeemer and friend and on and on.
The Christmas songs we sing become our expression of faith and hope in the Lord. It’s a simple revelation but one that I have unknowingly fought against for years. I don’t like hustle and bustle of the season. I don’t like the “requirement” of Christmas decoration, holiday extravagance, and hoopla. There never seems to be enough.
And there is truth to that. Because when it comes to expressing our joy and hope in the Lord, there can never be enough.
Psalm 150:1-5 New International Version (NIV)
Praise the Lord
Praise God in his sanctuary;
praise him in his mighty heavens.
Praise him for his acts of power;
praise him for his surpassing greatness.
Praise him with the sounding of the trumpet,
praise him with the harp and lyre,
praise him with timbrel and dancing,
praise him with the strings and pipe,
praise him with the clash of cymbals,
praise him with resounding cymbal
Colossians 3:16 New International Version (NIV)
Let the message of Christ dwell among you richly as you teach and admonish one another with all wisdom through psalms, hymns, and songs from the Spirit, singing to God with gratitude in your hearts.
And after all those weeks of practice, the message of Christ began to dwell in me. And the closing song of the Carols for Christmas concert became less about notes and rhthyms that I had committed to memory, and more about rejoicing in the Lord.
Good people now rejoice
With heart and soul and voice
Give Ye heed to what I say
Christ is born this Christmas Day!
How great our joy!
John 16:33 New International Version (NIV)
“I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.”
Thanks be to God.