Sing a new song to the Lord!
Let the whole earth sing to the Lord!
Sing to the Lord; praise his name.
Each day proclaim the good news that he saves. Psalm 96
Advent Day 9 – Music!
I am very thankful for the gift of song. Over the past week we have talked some about sharing the story of Christmas; well, one of the best ways to carry a great story is on the wings of a song.
Music touches my soul in some very deep places, and Christmas music somehow manages to bring together all the elements that both warm my heart and turn me to mush.
Simply put, I’m a sucker for a good song. All it takes is the right combination of music and meaning, and my defenses melt away.
I believe that, when people tap into creativity, they are connecting with the Spirit of God. That’s why music has to be one of the images I’m sharing for these 25 days of, “Advent at the Improv.”
REMEMBER CD’s? Over the years, Rebekah and I have assembled a wide range of Christmas music albums, traditional and – well – otherwise. We have everything from Sarah McLachlan’s “Wintersong,” to “A Smokey Mountain Christmas,” to “The London Festival Orchestra,” to “Elvis,” “Kenny G,” and even “A Twisted Christmas” by the heavy metal band, Twisted Sister.
However, if I want to immediately capture the essence of Advent at Maul-Hall, there are a half-dozen songs I really must figure out how to assemble into a “mix” one day (But then I’d have to learn how to get my iPhone to cooperate!).
- First – and I crank this to a fairly high volume to officially kick off the post-Thanksgiving weekend decorating blitz – has to be Mercy Me’s version of “It Came Upon a Midnight Clear;”
- next up would be their “Silent Night” track – still traditional but with a bluesy edge that works in every way;
- then I’d have to include “The Coventry Carol from Dan Crary’s “Holiday Guitar” album;
- follow that up with “O Tannenbaum”, the opening track on A Charlie Brown Christmas,” James Taylor‘s haunting “In the Bleak Midwinter,” and “The Blind Boys of Alabama singing “Away in a Manger.”
Best of all is singing enthusiastically with the congregation at church. Both with the praise team, translating classic carols into light rock, and the more traditional arrangements at 11:15.
Then yesterday, while the elders served communion during the early service, I played my guitar arrangement of “In the Bleak Midwinter;” definitely inspired by James Taylor, but at the same time very much my own. Then Jesus took over, and I played the carol out with damp eyes and a growing lump in my throat.
There’s an old one-liner – unattributed – that I’ve always appreciated. “He who sings, prays twice.”
Those who sing, pray twice. Music not only leads me into the presence of God, it also gives me something wonderful to say.
Derek has published seven books in the past decade (you can find them at https://www.amazon.com/Derek-Maul/e/B001JS9WC4), and there’s always something new in the works.
Before becoming a full-time writer, Derek taught public school in Florida for eighteen years, including cutting-edge work with autistic children. He holds bachelor’s degrees in psychology and education from Stetson University and the University of West Florida.
Derek is active in teaching at his church: adult Sunday school, and a men’s Bible study/spiritual formation group. He enjoys the outdoors, traveling, photography, reading, cooking, playing guitar, and golf.