Maureen Moynahan Elwyn
Sunday, Third Week of Advent: Joy
December 15, 2013
Light the Candle of Joy
Come, let us sing for joy to the Lord; let us shout aloud to the rock of our salvation. Psalm 95:1
Last Sunday night during their weekly telephone call, I heard my husband’s grandmother telling him how much she enjoyed leading the music at the Senior Citizen’s Center in her hometown. “I don’t sing very well,” Grandma Marge admitted, “but I love to. Singing makes me feel like I am laughing inside.” Seated on the couch within hearing range, I chuckled to myself, because I know exactly how she feels. The very act of singing makes me happy.
I come from a long line of singers. My great-grandfather was murdered by a group of hooded men who paid him a visit one night to persuade him that a married man with five children shouldn’t be singing and playing music at dances. They took his life, but they didn’t stop my family from singing.
His son, my grandfather, possessed perfect pitch and could sing the tenor line of a song after hearing it only once. He, my mother, and Aunt Betty Jo would go to town on Saturday night and stand on the corner in front of the courthouse serenading the townspeople who came to shop and socialize. Mother and Daddy Dee passed that love of music on to me.
My earliest musical memories revolve around sitting between my two brothers on the front row of Springfield Baptist Church while Mother practiced with the choir on Wednesday nights and sang in the choir on Sunday mornings. For some kids (as in the case of my brothers), the wait would have seemed an eternity, but not for me. I loved it! When I was seven, I could sing every song in John W. Peterson’s Christmas cantata, Night of Miracles, by heart. So it was only natural that I gladly joined the choir when I, too, was old enough to sing.
One of my favorite things about singing in our choir at LABC is watching your faces in the congregation when we sing hymns. I especially love those times when we sing songs which are dear and familiar to us all. Many of you have the words committed to memory and don’t even need to open your hymnbooks. At those times, I can see the joy on your faces and can sense the presence of God.
Dr. Phil often reminds us on Sunday mornings that singing is a form of worship. When we lift our voices in song, we respond with thanks for what God has done for us. Sometimes the lyrics of the songs reflect the thoughts that our hearts can’t find the words to say. At other times, we draw strength and peace from joining together in hymns of comfort and praise.
I would have loved to have been in Bethlehem on the night when Jesus was born. Luke tells us that a choir of angels sang praises at the birth of our Savior singing, “Glory to God in the highest and on earth, peace, and good will to all men.” I know I would have been singing along! How about you?
The words of that first Christmas message still speak of joy and peace when we sing our favorite Christmas hymns. As together we experience this season of Advent, my hope is that you will join with the choir and our church family in celebrating the birth of our Lord Jesus Christ by worshipping Him with our music. God doesn’t care how well you sing and neither does the person seated next to you in the pew. What does matter is that we give Him our gratitude and our praise.
So sing for joy! And when you do, I hope that maybe, just maybe, you’ll find yourself laughing on the inside just like our Grandma Marge.
Heavenly Father, like the psalmist, David, I will sing unto the Lord as long as I live. During this season of Advent, I will join my heart and song with the choir of heavenly hosts who sang praises at the birth our blessed Savior. Amen.