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Monday, December 21, 2015

Do You Hear What I Hear?

“I thank my God every time I remember you.Philippians 1:3 (NIV)
Sunday, as Carolyn played a beautiful piano solo, combining many Christmas hymns and carols, my father’s one-note melody drifted into my mind and I smiled. Daddy was a fine Christian but with a blue-collar vocabulary who sang praises to the Lord on the flat lilt of a tone-deaf monotone. It was hard to hold back tears of joy when I heard his familiar voice singing again in my memory.
Momma played the piano for the primary-grade Sunday school classes as they gathered before their Bible lesson. She pounded on those ivory keys until the melodies of Christmas flooded the low ceiling-room in the little Beavertown EUB church of my childhood. As we all listened to Carolyn yesterday, in my mind I saw Momma in her brown felt hat with the attached Christmas tree pin with bright rhinestones for tiny ornaments and my heart filled with love and joy.
For myself, I have/had a trained singing voice with a three-octave range … before three or four winters with chronic bronchitis and several surgeries in which oxygen burned my vocal chords. I have lost the top two octaves and sing in a female-tenor range. But Sunday, it was different. As the pianist drew beautiful tones out of the piano, I could hear my own voice of a decade ago, floating above the words of praise. I could not control my emotions. While I cannot now sing to praise the Lord as I used to, I know I heard my own voice singing, just like I’ll sound in Heaven when I’m invited to sing with the angel choir.
Christmas is a wonderful time of past and present, celebrating with birthday songs to our Lord Jesus and the trill of giggles from our children and grandchildren as they experience the season with new eyes and ears. What do you hear this Christmas — family arguments from the past or the sweet voices and sounds of your own childhood? Even a flat or melody-free rendition, when sung by the familiar voice of a loving father, is a blessing for which to thank God.
What sounds do you hear at Christmas? What memories do you cling to? Are they ones for which you cannot help but thank God? If not, let them go and choose to remember joy. Let us pray:
“Oh Father God, creator of all there is and father of the Christmas-child, holy is your name and the name of Jesus. At this sacred time of the year, I ask that your will may come to earth and into my life, just as it is in Heaven. For today, I ask that the good sounds of Christmas-past and Christmas-present may fill my mind and memory. Forgive me when I have contributed to the jangle and noise at the foot of the manger. May I not disturb the Christ child or any of your children around me. I thank you for all the good voices of my past and all the many, many blessings of the present. May I be part of the joy and song of Christmas and not a clanging racket. In the name of Jesus, the Christ-child and my savior, I pray. Amen”
"God gives us stories that testify to His love. Let me tell you mine.”
Copyright 2015 Doris Gaines Rapp

A very Merry and Blessed Christmas to all of you!