Posted in 2021 Advent devotions

A music filled road

“The Road to Bethlehem” Advent devotion for December 20, 2021. Photo by Ryk Naves on Unsplash

Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly, teaching and admonishing one another in all wisdom, singing psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, with thankfulness in your hearts to God. (Colossians 3:16)

No other holiday or celebration is filled with as much song as the Christmas season. Our catalogue of patriotic songs for Independence Day is a distant second. Nothing else comes close.

Winter concerts, worship services, radio playlists, and background shopping music feature both sacred and secular songs about Christmas. Songs about Jesus, Mary, Joseph, shepherds, angels, wise men, drummers, snowmen, Santa, reindeer, the Grinch, snow, sleigh rides, donkeys and hippos fill our ears. It’s hard not to hum, sing or whistle along with them.

Music is a part of God’s creation. The sound of birds singing accompanies the dawn. Mournful whale song sounds in the depths. Wolves and dogs howl, wind whistles through the trees, sheets of rain beat out a rhythm, crickets chirp, a snake hisses, a hawk shrieks, a brook babbles, and thunder rumbles.

Sometimes it’s a solo. Other times it’s a huge chorus of voices. A quartet gives you four part harmony. A piano, a bass and a drummer are all you need for a trio. It sounds like a million frogs are singing outside my house after a summer shower. Or it’s just my voice in a morning shower.

In scripture, the nations, the trees of the forest, the mountains and the hills, the wilderness and desert, and the mute all sing for joy. They sing when God comes to save, renew, and restore them. They sing because the Lord bring them back to life.

In scripture, the Lord himself sings (Zephaniah 3:17). No wonder his people, created in his image, want to sing. It’s who we are. It’s because of who he is. Most importantly, it’s because of what he’s done. The Redeemed have a song to sing. You and I have a song to sing because our God has come, the Christ is born, and our Savior is alive!

Most people I meet tell me they cannot sing. The cannot sing their way out of a paper bag. They cannot sing to save their lives. They can’t carry a tune in a bucket. Most of the time that’s just not true. You may not have an award winning voice, but you are part of that earthly and heavenly chorus who sings the praises of the Lamb on the throne. He’s worthy of anything and everything you’ve got.

Lately, some of my best moments have been singing with my young grandchildren. Especially the Christmas songs. “Away in a manger,” “Silent night,” “Joy to the World.” Sing it again, Apa. Gladly. I can use all the practice I can get for eternity!

Thank you, Lord, for all those who join me in singing your praises. Amen.

Posted in Lent devotions

Singing with Jesus

“Scenes from the passion” Lent devotion for Friday, February 26, 2021.

“And when they had sung a hymn, they went out to the Mount of Olives” (Mark 14:26).

What hymn do you think Jesus and the disciples sang on their way out of the city? Amazing Grace? Beautiful Savior? Just As I Am? Of course not. Those hymns wouldn’t be written for another few millenia.

It would have been a psalm. Maybe it was one of the Hallel psalms (Psalms 111-118), praising the Lord for his mighty works, his many blessings, and his steadfast love that endures forever. Remember, it’s the Passover, a festive time for remembering God’s powerful deliverance. The songs they sang that night they might have sung many times with their families growing up. They all knew them and loved to sing them.

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