Monday, December 17, 2012
The Music of Christmas
Bill and Gloria Gaither said it best, Jesus Christ “started the whole world singing”. If I’m not mistaken, Christmas is the most musical holiday of all. Christmas music literally encircles the globe. Some people complain about the commercialization of Christmas, but I like the Christianization of the marketplace. At no other time can you walk through the mall and hear beautiful gospel music pouring out of the speakers. Some of the music is about Santa Claus and reindeer, but I enjoy that too. The imagination is a marvelous gift of God and Gene Autry’s “Rudolph” song is lots of fun to sing and I think really entertaining. Even if the words are a secular fantasy, all real music is a gift of God because music itself is a gift God built into the DNA of the universe.
I love the special Christmas services, especially when I get to sing. This year our First Church of God choir (St Joseph, MI) did the cantata “Child of Wonder” and this marvelous choir really nailed it. I doubt if many have done it better. Just a few minutes ago I heard “There’s Something Going on Down in Bethlehem”, one of the fun (but incredibly inspirational) songs in this cantata being sung on the Purdue University Christmas Show. They did a marvelous job and it’s always a thrill to hear Christ proclaimed over national television, but the truth is, as good as they were, they didn’t do it as well as our choir! I shouldn’t brag, especially since I’m in the tenor section, but we probably did one of the best it’s ever been done.
Pastor Chad Harlan knows how to get the most out of a choir—the perfect combination of pastor, disciplined taskmaster and gifted teacher. Last Sunday evening we sang the cantata at First Church and this morning we sang “Hark the Herald” in the 9:30 am service in St Joseph and then scurried over to Benton Heights to sing the full cantata at the First Church at Benton Heights 11 am service.
For more than a year I was one of the associate pastors at the Benton Heights Church and I remember some young black men who checked us out and weren’t too sure they even liked us. But Campus Pastor Mary Shawl-Ranke and now Pastor Colt Slack have, together with a host of lay volunteers, shared Christ’s love with those young men and what a blessing it was to look out into the congregation from the choir and see so many of those young men sitting in the pews, participating in the service, obviously very much a part of the congregation. The congregation is white, black and Hispanic, young, old and in-between, and they all made our choir feel so welcome. We all had a marvelous time and God was glorified in the worship, the music, and the marvelous voices. Pastor Colt even did a little preaching to close it out. God’s glory shows best in the lives of people whose hearts have been transformed by the gospel of Christ.
But I digress. This post is about the music of Christmas. It’s just the best. Whether “Silver Bells” or “Silent Night”, it is Jesus who gave us something to sing about and when we sing songs of joy and happiness, we bring glory to God!
Carol and I were blessed to grow up in musical families. We shared that heritage with our children and now the grandchildren too are singers and musicians. Our extended families have always been and still are gifted singers and musicians. We give all praise to God who gave us this gift of music.
Thank you God for this gift—the ability to sing (or listen), and play instruments. I especially, thank you for the gift of your Son, who created us to sing and gave us all a reason to do so!
I’m Rick Blumenberg and that’s “My View from Tanner Creek”.