It all started a few days before our church’s annual Christmas cantata when a good friend shared a humorous post on my Facebook timeline poking fun at altos. The post was just a short video of a woman singing the alto part all by herself. It wasn’t pretty, but not because she couldn’t sing. The problem—-the melody was missing. A melody can stand alone and create a simple song, but harmony alone is just not appealing to the ear. However, if you add harmony to the melody, a stronger and more beautiful sound is created. The song is made complete. The friend that shared the video with me summed it up well in the commentary that followed that post. She said, “Without an alto it’s just a melody. How boring.”
Earlier this month I spent a large part of one weekend at my church singing alto in the annual Christmas cantata. We performed it once on Saturday and twice on Sunday. In the midst of it all, God delivered a very timely and special message through my current reading plan in YouVersion. It’s called “The Magic of Christmas” and that Sunday’s devotion was written by Cory Draper. He says, “A melody is what gives a song its body. A harmony is what gives that body a soul.” When I read those words, I had to pause a moment and let them sink in.
Think of each of us as individual songs, a collection of notes strung together one after another. We were created by God, but without Jesus we are incomplete. Sin entered this world when Eve bit into the forbidden fruit and has run rampant ever since. Sin separates us from God. Because of His unparalleled love for us, God the Father put His redemption plan in motion by sending God the Son, Jesus, to earth. Through Jesus’ birth, sacrifice, and resurrection, we are brought into harmony with God. This (re)union of notes makes for a more full and beautiful sound. Our songs are made complete through faith in Jesus Christ.
Joy to the world, the Lord is come!
Let earth receive her King;
Let every heart prepare Him room….
Are you singing it yet?
May Jesus bring joy to your world as you make room to receive Him in your heart this Christmas!
(adapted from my Christmas letter)
Those of you who know me well, know how much I love my sports. We are currently in the thick of March Madness, the nickname given to the season-ending college basketball tournament. Last night I found myself trying to watch three different basketball games and a hockey game all while watching a movie. I generally don’t touch the remote at my house, but my thumbs sure got a workout last night. I did happen to catch two goals in the hockey game. But I missed four. I saw a game-winning last second shot in one of the basketball games. But I missed a historic comeback in the last minute of another. Though I got the gist of it, it’s hard to tell how much of the movie I missed while trying to keep track of the games. My lack of focus on any one thing was somewhat comical at the time, but then God pointed out the painful truth of the matter this morning during my quiet time.
The truth is that my attention is divided in much more important matters than what’s showing on TV. Jesus promises that we WILL have trouble in this world. Some of us currently have more than others, but none of us are immune to it. As Pastor Chris often reminds us, “Everybody’s dealing with something.” If you’re like me and your attention frequently gets diverted to your trouble, you’ll soon find yourself drowning. That’s what happened to Peter when Jesus invited him to walk on water…
“Yes, come,” Jesus said. So Peter went over the side of the boat and walked on the water toward Jesus. But when he saw the strong wind and the waves, he was terrified and began to sink. “Save me, Lord!” he shouted.” Matthew 14:29-30 NLT
The key to staying afloat in this troublesome world is to fix your eyes on Jesus, giving Him your undivided attention. His power is made perfect in our weakness. (2 Corinthians 12:9)
“Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles. And let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us, fixing our eyes on Jesus, the pioneer and perfecter of faith. For the joy set before him he endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God. Consider him who endured such opposition from sinners, so that you will not grow weary and lose heart.” Hebrews 12:1-3 NIV
During this Holy Week, Christians generally have a heightened awareness of just how much Jesus suffered on our behalf. He made the ultimate sacrifice when He gave His very life for ours. If He can do that, then surely we can endure whatever obstacles await us in our own races. Whatever troubles you are facing, I pray you will just keep putting one foot in front of the other. By not giving up, you’ll reach the finish line and taste victory at just the right time. And it’ll be sweeter than the candy in the Easter basket! Victory is ours because Jesus defeated death. That’s cause for celebration—
(When the movie ended last night, they announced that there would be an encore presentation of the movie airing on its sister channel next week. After all that…ugh!)
Have you heard??
“The Savior—yes, the Messiah, the Lord—has been born today in Bethlehem, the city of David! And you will recognize him by this sign: You will find a baby wrapped snugly in strips of cloth, lying in a manger.” Luke 2:11-12 NLT
Just as the prophet Isaiah foretold…
“For unto us a Child is born, Unto us a Son is given; And the government will be upon His shoulder. And His name will be called Wonderful, Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.” Isaiah 9:6 NKJV
Unto you. Unto me. Unto Us. A Son. Is. Given.
God gave us the Ultimate Gift when He sent His Son, Jesus Christ, from heaven in the form of a baby. May each of you savor the Savior and the hope, love, joy and peace that He came to give.