The story of the birth of our Savior, Jesus Christ, has been an inspiration for those who write poetry and music. Divine influence on those writers produced melodies and verses that have endured year after year. Details of the circumstances surrounding Christ's birth and the reason for His coming put to song draw us in so that we join in singing.
Did you ever think about how many Christmas concerts are produced each year? Many music directors in churches and schools from elementary through college level prepare their students to play and sing the Christmas songs that have been handed down from generation to generation. As I was growing up, preparing for our yearly concerts was exciting and culminated in a production attended by my family.
Life has a way of going full circle. Last week I found myself attending a Christmas concert put on by the residents of the senior living center where my mother lives. Over 50 residents were part of the choir that was accompanied by a piano player and two trumpet players. The director had a diverse program of songs including, "God Rest You Merry, Gentlemen," "Gesu Bambino," "What Child is This," "Lo, How a Rose," and "Joy to the World." Most of the choir members sang with great abandon, except for one gentleman sitting on the front row. He looked distressed and hardly moved his mouth. When I questioned my mother about this she told me that he is almost totally deaf. Yet, he wanted to be part of this celebration. I am sure that he was hearing the songs in his mind as he tried to sing along. My mother went on to tell me that everyone is welcome to participate in the choir.
As I reflected on the conversation I had with my mother a fun song by Celtic Thunder came into my head that depicts the all-inclusive choir. The verses of this song--"A Place in the Choir"--tell of different animals and how they uniquely participate in singing. Then comes the chorus: "All God's creatures got a place in the choir. Some sing low and some sing higher. Some sing out loud on a telephone wire. Some just clap their hands, or paws, or anything they've got now." This song presents a wonderful picture of God's intention to draw us all in and to use whatever He has given us to worship Him. The Lord is certainly an all-inclusive Savior! He came to invite everyone to join Him for eternity. For everyone who receives Him, His message is clear and meant for every individual on the face of this earth. As it says in the song, "Thou Didst Leave Thy Throne," "There is room at My side for thee."
Life on earth is practice for eternity where worship of the Lord will occur 24/7. John writes about what he saw in heaven in Revelation 5:11-14. "Then I looked and heard the voice of many angels, numbering thousands upon thousands, and ten thousand times ten thousand. They encircled the throne and the living creatures and the elders. In a loud voice they sang: 'Worthy is the Lamb, who was slain, to receive power and wealth and wisdom and strength and honor and glory and praise!' Then I heard every creature in heaven and on earth and under the earth and on the sea, and all that is in them, singing: 'To Him who sits on the throne and to the Lamb be praise and honor and glory and power, for ever and ever!' The four living creature said, 'Amen,' and the elders fell down and worshiped." Yes, there is a place reserved for each of us in the great choir in heaven where we will worship our Lord and King for eternity. In the meantime, we can practice as members of the choir, just as one of the lesser known verses of "Silent Night" says: "With the angels let us sing; Hallelujah to our King! Jesus Christ is here! Jesus Christ is here!"
Joan E. Mathias