Wednesday, December 24, 2014

Christmas Gifts

When I was in Third Grade, our class went to the local Nursing Home just before Christmas. I was selected to sing a solo after our entire class sang a few songs together.

When it was my turn to sing I stepped forward. My song was "O Come All Ye Faithful" and I had been carefully coached on how to sing it. To this day I cannot sing that song without following those exact instructions:

"On the first "O Come Let Us Adore Him" sing it softly. On the second time around sing it slightly louder. On the final time, really dig deep and belt it out strong."

That's how I sang it that day. It's how I still sing it now.

Last week a few people from our little house church - the Miscellaneous Christians of Orange County - met at a local Senior Home to sing room-to-room for a few of the residents there.

In almost every room, as we started to sing the Christmas Carol - be it "Silent Night" or "Joy To The World" or "Little Town of Bethlehem", the reaction was nearly the same. People smiled. They closed their eyes. They shed a tear. They allowed our songs to transport them back to a time when they were surrounded by loved ones. They recalled being children themselves and sitting around the Christmas Tree with their family. They softly sang along with us.

And when we were finished singing they said, "Thank you" and "Can you sing another one?"

When I was in college I used to sing in a band.

We played clubs, and bars, and schools, and anywhere they'd let us play.

We wrote our own songs. We recorded a few of them and tried to sell them to our fans. I still have boxes of those cassettes in my garage. Recently I uploaded all of them for free on the internet. No one downloaded them.

But when I'm singing a Christmas Carol for these dear people I am more than a rock star. I am more appreciated than I ever was on stage.

I loved being on stage. I loved performing for an audience. But when we sing to those few people at Fountain Care, I forget all that.

Instead, I realize that my real audience is the One who compels me to sing at all.

I see His face of joy in the old woman under the sheets.

I see His smile in the eyes of the man who doesn't speak English but sings along with us in his own native tongue.

I hear His voice in the dear woman who has lost her feet to diabetes and for a few verses of "Silent Night" has forgotten her sorrow. "Thank you," she says enthusiastically.

We were a little flat. The key was a little too low. But the presence of Jesus was surrounding us. We all felt it. We all perceived His approval.

In that moment we were all family.

"O Come Let Us Adore Him...Christ, the Lord".


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