skip to Main Content

Singing Our Stories – St. Nick’s News Dec. 21, 2021

Full St. Nick’s News for December 21, 2021

Dear Friends,

The other day I was at the store and overheard a discussion between a husband and wife. One was complaining about tiresome Christmas music and the other was making a passionate argument about the need for joyous Christmas music this year. As I stood in line, listening to their enthusiastic debate, I was struck by a weird revelation about the importance of Christmas music.

As I shared with you, I didn’t grow up in the church. At. All. My first worship experience was at the age of 14, and it was frightening. We never went to church – no Christmas or Easter services, no attending funerals or weddings, no just popping in out to curiosity. No church. At. All.

But yet, I experienced God.

I experienced God through the love of others, in the beauty of nature, and yearly through Christmas music. Hearing Silent Night, Joy to the World, and O Holy Night (to name a few) helped me to learn a story that I would otherwise not know. I was and am struck at the importance of these Christmas songs and hymns that we hear and tire of so easily.

Without these yearly tunes, how will people not in our churches hear the story of Jesus Christ? How will people know that God so loved the world that he came down as an infant born in humility to come and turn the world upside down through love and grace and forgiveness?

“He who sings, prays twice” is a saying attributed to St. Augustine. Of course, there is a lot of debate as to whether he actually wrote this, and a lot of debate around its meaning… I take it to mean, those who sing put themselves in the posture of being open and vulnerable to have a conversation with the Lord. And through this singing, a deep personal and prayerful connection is made. Christmas hymns played as songs on the radio, or through a playlist or music app like Spotify or Pandora are prayers to the Lord. These songs are ways people come to know God.

I would not have known the Christmas story if it were not for these hymns played on the radio or offered on Christmas specials through the T.V. My worldview was expanded through Christmas music. Come to think of it, every time I sang along to Away in the Manger, I was indeed praying. I was praying and I didn’t even know it!

Away in a manger, no crib for a bed,
The little Lord Jesus laid down his sweet head.
The stars in the sky looked down where he lay,
The little Lord Jesus asleep in the hay.

The cattle are lowing, the baby awakes,
But little Lord Jesus no crying he makes.
I love Thee, Lord Jesus, look down from the sky
And stay by my cradle til morning is nigh.

Be near me, Lord Jesus, I ask Thee to stay
Close by me forever, and love me, I pray.
Bless all the dear children in thy tender care,
And take us to heaven, to live with Thee there.

That last verse is such a great prayer!
Be near me, Lord Jesus, I ask Thee to stay
Close by me forever, and love me, I pray.
Bless all the dear children in thy tender care,
And take us to heaven, to live with Thee there.

I am filled with gratitude for the power of prayer through song! I am thankful that our Lord heard my prayer and has, through the years, drawn me close as I asked and prayed in my youth. And this is only one example! Think of what we are praying when we sing along to Angels We Have Heard on High or God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen!

I hope and I pray that as we encounter Christmas, we can all take the posture of being open and vulnerable to have new conversations with our Lord. I hope and pray that we can feel a deep personal and prayerful connection to God in Christ. I also hope and pray that we are moved to share God’s story with those who do not yet know it. I hope we share God’s story through our music and hymns, but also by telling others of the love and joy we have found in God through our time together at St. Nicholas.

There are a great many people who need to know God’s story of Grace, Love, and Forgiveness. I hope and pray we can all live God’s story out loud – whether it’s through song, word, or deed. And as I share this, it occurs to me, the next time I overhear a passionate debate about Christmas music, I just may need to speak God’s story and say, I was a life changed and transformed by that music – maybe yours is too!

God’s Peace, Love, and Blessings,