Tomorrow is our celebration of Christmas at Pensacola First Church of the Nazarene. I am blessed to be singing the song “His Name is Jesus.”
Getting this song ready has been a challenge for me. It seems that, until this week, I had let every possible distraction keep me from focusing on learning this song. Admittedly, the solo sounded ok when I sang it in the car (everything sounds good when you are singing alone in a car!). But, on Wednesday, at our dress rehearsal, I messed up the song so badly that we did it again, and IT WAS EVEN WORSE!! I knew it was all my fault, but I still whined about other things that weren’t really to blame.
I have been singing since I learned to talk. I have a decent choir voice and I love to read music. It is a joy to sing. And, when Poppa had a heart procedure a few years ago and lost the ability to swallow for awhile, I realized anew how beneficial singing is. It keeps my throat muscles working hard. It forces me to breath deeply and to exercise my core. (I hide the results under a very non-healthy indulgence in chocolate chip cookies!). And, the scripture says that singing can be praise. (“Speaking to one another with psalms, hymns, and songs from the Spirit. Sing and make music from your heart to the Lord” (Ephesians 5:19).)
Yesterday, I figured out the song I am to sing tomorrow morning. For me, there is the technical part of learning a song — the words, the notes, the rhythm. That part can be challenging, but is pretty simple with lots of focused practice. And, I practiced the song a lot. But, there is a second component to learning a song — the soul of the song. This takes time and attention and prayer.
For instance, I have been blessed to be able to sing our National Anthem many times. I don’t get creative with this song. My belief is that it should be sung as written, as the writer intended it and as people know it. But, getting the tune, words and rhythm right is only part of singing “The Star Spangled Banner.” I want to see the bombs bursting in air in my mind and try to imagine the joy and pride at seeing our flag still flying at dawn after the battle of the night.
I love the song “O Holy Night” and I love the voice of a particular singer. But, I cannot tolerate hearing that particular artist sing “O Holy Night.” Their life and words don’t reflect a heart that beats the joy of the gift from God on that holy night.
So, why couldn’t I sing my solo at practice on Wednesday?
It is simple. I hadn’t done all of the work that needed to be done and I was listening to everything else but the song.
It’s a frequent temptation to fall into this trap. We wonder why Christmas morning isn’t special, but we haven’t spent the time thinking about and loving the people around us; and then on that special morning we only listen to the words we hear with our ears and not the hugs and the smiles we hear with our hearts.
Or, we have the party at work. It seems to be the dullest event ever! But, have we pushed so hard to get work done so that we can “enjoy” the event and are we continually stopping co-workers for “just a minute” to talk about “one last” item of business? Have we failed to pay attention to their sweet stories about kids and grandkids or are we thinking about our drive home?
Take the time to learn the meaning of the song, to notice your loved ones, to hear the heartbeat of the Christmas story. It will cause your soul to sing.
Jill (just one of God’s kids)
Ps. Want to “hear” how it goes? At 10:30 am tomorrow,stop by Pensacola First Church of the Nazarene (3475 Pine Forest Road, Cantonment,FL) or catch us anytime on Facebook live (“First Church of the Nazarene, Pensacola, FL”.)