“Sweetie, when I see you, I hear the angels sing.”
Anna’s grandmother Relle has been gone for nearly 14 years, but I can still hear her, in her slow Southern drawl, speaking these words. She spoke them to me. She spoke them to Anna. She spoke them to others. It was just the way she expressed her delight over her family. Relle had a way about her, but that’s for another time and place. Today, I sit here with a smile on my face, remembering her, and thinking about the angels singing.
Isn’t it a wonderful thought? I’m referring to the angels singing. After all, that is exactly what they did that glorious night outside of Bethlehem when they spoke to the shepherds of the new born baby Jesus. And oh what a song….
“Glory to God in the highest,
and on earth peace among
those with whom he is
It is a magnificent little song, made all the more magnificent by the fact that a multitude of the heavenly host were singing it. It seems in fact, that singing was a very appropriate response to the Christ child. As you read through the birth narrative in Luke, you can almost image it as a musical. Mary sang in Luke 1:46-55 as she pondered the blessing of the child to come. Zachariah, the father of John the Baptist, sang in Luke 1:67-79 as he pondered his own son’s ministry in preparing for the Christ child. The angels sang in Luke 2:14, and then Simeon sang in Luke 2:29-32 when he embraced the baby Jesus in the Temple.
Why all the singing? Well…why not? Breaking out into song in the middle of our everyday lives may seem awkward and unnatural to us, but then again, isn’t singing the most natural of all ways to express emotion? In the early chapters of Luke, the participants in the birth narrative felt emotion so deep that they had to express it. What better expression of joy could there possibly be than singing?
But what about us? Has it ever occurred to you that the church is one of the only places in all of our lives where many of us will actually sing? Oh of course, we will occasionally go to a concert and sing along, and there are a very small number of us who will sing in a choir or a band. For most of us though, the only place in our whole existence where we come together to sing is in the church. So why do we sing there? I would submit that in response to the gospel, singing is the most natural thing in the world. When we grasp the beauty of grace, the only possible thing we can do with our resulting emotion is to let it out by singing praise to our God and King.
Speaking of singing, there is an old song, recorded by a host of different artists, titled “What are you doing New Year’s Eve?” It’s got a catchy tune, but I’m less concerned about what you are doing on New Year’s Eve. Instead, I want to ask you, what you are doing on Christmas Eve? I will be singing. Now for those who know me well, that may be a scary thought. Too bad. I’ll be singing anyway, and I would like to invite you to come join me. Christ Church will be partnering with Christ Community Church in Springville to hold a Lessons and Carols service. In this service we will walk through the Scriptures, looking to the story of Redemption God has written, culminating in the birth (and life) of Jesus Christ. As we read the Scriptures (the Lessons), we cannot help but sing in response (the Carols). It is a beautiful service for the whole family, and is one that will set the tone for your Christmas celebration.
So what are you doing Christmas Eve? Why don’t you join Christ Church PCA of Trussville and Christ Community Church of Springville at 5:00 pm as we gather at Matthews Manor to hear God’s Word…and to sing.