The best way to spread Christmas cheerBuddy, the Elf, from ELF, 2003
is singing loud for all to hear
As I think about singing today, singing out the Christmas message, I need a bit of adrenaline for my soul. I love this poem by Elizabeth Barrett Browning entitled “Work and Contemplation.”
The woman singeth at her spinning-wheelE.B.Browning
A pleasant chant, ballad or barcarole;
She thinketh of her song, upon the whole,
Far more than of her flax; and yet the reel
Is full, and artfully her fingers feel
With quick adjustment, provident control,
The lines, too subtly twisted to unroll
Out to a perfect thread. I hence appeal
To the dear Christian Church, that we may do
Our Father’s business in these temples mirk,
Thus swift and steadfast, thus intent and strong;
While thus, apart from toil, our souls pursue
Some high calm spheric tune, and prove our work
The better for the sweetness of our song.
Her point is that the focus of our being, thoughts, and soul should be on Him whom we serve. On being, not so much on doing. In that process, the melody of our lives rings pure, genuine, and sweet.
“Keep your eyes on Jesus, who both began and finished this race we’re in. Study how he did it. Because he never lost sight of where he was headed—that exhilarating finish in and with God—he could put up with anything along the way: Cross, shame, whatever. And now he’s there, in the place of honor, right alongside God. When you find yourselves flagging in your faith, go over that story again, item by item, that long litany of hostility he plowed through. That will shoot adrenaline into your souls!”Hebrews 12:1-3 MSG
Could that be what Browning was so eloquently saying to us, that in looking to Jesus, our souls pursue a high, calm, spheric tune, shooting adrenaline into our souls? And our work, in and outside our home, the better!
Immanuel, we sing Thy praise,
Thou Prince of Life, Thou Fount of Grace,
With all Thy saints, Thee, Lord, we sing;
Praise, honor, thanks, to Thee we bring
E’er since the world began to be,Paul Gerhardt
How many a heart hath longed for Thee!
And Thou, O long expected Guest,
Hast come at last to make us blest!
As you sing your favorite Christmas carols today, think about the words, let them wash over you, bringing you His peace, His calm, His joy!
Father, Your Word is full of singing! Zechariah, Mary, the angels sang! Jesus sang a hymn with His followers. And the Word tells us you sing over us. At Christmas, the truths of your Incarnation are sung in the public square. “Hail the heaven-born Prince of Peace! Hail the Sun of Righteousness! Light and life to all he brings, risen with healing in his wings.” In these last days before the holiday peaks, help us to keep our eyes on You so that we can sing Your praises! Amen.