Singing Anyone?

bear-1124548_960_720What if I don’t want to sing? God commands us to sing in numerous passages, such as Psalm 95, 96, 100, & Colossians 3:16. While I am sharing a message series about worship with my church family, I have reminded all of us that God established singing in our DNA. While we are made to sing, and God has commanded us to sing, what if we don’t want to sing? Has that ever happened to you? Some people don’t want to sing because they believe they sound horrible. Others have lost their song due to personal struggles and disappointments.

Let’s first of all acknowledge that it’s not abnormal to lose our song, or never have one to start with. For those who believe they are doing humanity a favor by not singing, I think the solution to the problem is that they must change their thinking. Think back to watching your two-year old daughter dancing for you or your young son swinging a baseball bat and dribbling a ball five feet from the tee. You loved it and applauded your little ones. Our singing is not for us. On the most part, it’s not even for the people around us (though I’ll share some thoughts about that in my next blog). God made us to sing for Himself. If you don’t want to sing because you think you can’t, actually, you can. You may not sing well, but you can make a joyful noise. Give it a try. First and foremost, it will put a smile on the face of your Heavenly Father. Worship is about Him and not you.

We face other challenges that may steal the song from our hearts. We may be struggling with financial problems, health challenges, or relationship issues. Singing is an interesting thing. Not only can singing be the overflow of a joyful heart, but it can also be the cause of a joyful heart. Singing is therapeutic. Worshipping God with a song in our heart always takes us to a new place in our spirit. When we feel down about something, worshipping God always brings new perspective on our circumstances. Scientists have determined that singing releases endorphins in our body that bring about feelings of pleasure and joy. It also releases Oxytocin, which creates feelings of trust and bonding, helping us overcome struggles with depression and loneliness. God loves us so much. It’s no wonder He commands us to sing.

What if I don’t want to sing? Sing anyway. Singing and worshipping Almighty God is just the prescription you need to take you to a new place in your life. While worshipping God is about God first, it’s amazing how we ultimately benefit by putting God first. Christmas is a great time to make a shift in our song. Why not start today by finding a song in your heart. Maybe you could start with “Joy to the World.”

Happy Holidays

Merry_ChristmasHappy Holidays. Really?? I heard it for the first time last week. It was actually a greeting between two people in a parking lot, so no employer was forcing an employee to remove Christ from Christmas. Was it political correctness or were the two people atheists? Who knows? A friend of mine just told me about someone he knows who was instructed by an employer not to say “Merry Christmas,” but rather “Happy Holidays.” Do you suppose this person works at a major retailer? Nope. She works at a hospital. My friend said that maybe employees should say, “Happy celebration of Jesus’ birthday.” Or maybe this one would be better, “Happy day when God set His redemption plan in motion that involved sending His Son to be born as a baby and then having Him grow to be a man, die on a cross for the sins of the world, and then rise again from the dead.” I suppose this last one would be pretty tough to fit on a Christmas card. It’s CHRISTmas. It is a day set in history, though we do not know exactly when Jesus was born. The fact of Jesus’ birth is a verifiable, historic event. Being we do not know the exact date, December 25 is as good a day as any other to celebrate the day God’s amazing plan for humanity was set into motion. “Thank you Jesus for coming into this world. We celebrate YOU this season!”

Have A Merry Christmas

Merry Christmas everyone. Christmas is Jesus, and I encourage you to intentionally make plans to include Jesus in your celebration this year. How can you do that? You may want to consider some things we have done in the past:

  • Light an advent wreath. Once a week (or now you may need to light two candles during one week to catch up), you can light a four-candle wreath with a fifth candle in the center. Though in liturgical churches, the four candles (3 are usually purple) typically represent hope (prophecy), love, joy (this candle is usually rose colored), and peace, you can get creative and allow them to represent a number of things (prophecy, Bethlehem, shepherds, angels, or various aspects of the gospel).The center candle is the Christ candle and can be lit on Christmas morning. You can have family devotions around the advent wreath once a week and light the candle and read appropriate scripture. Google Advent Wreath and come up with some ideas.
  • Sing! Music is such a big part of the Christmas season. Celebrating the birth of Christ through Christian, Christmas music in your home is a great way to keep Christ at the center of the holiday. Sing as a family during family devotions. If you’re not as musically inclined, play Christmas CD’s and have your family sing along.
  • Serve – One of the great ways to celebrate Christmas is to serve others during the season. You can serve by visiting the elderly, ringing the Salvation Army bell as a family, take a meal to a needy family, give gifts to a needy family, or simply helping someone who needs help. Last year on Christmas Day, my family joined some good friends and went caroling at the Cancer Treatment Center. I will always think of it as a highlight of the season. When our children were young, we once read a book called “The Last Straw” and used it as a tool to encourage our children to do acts of service for one another. They would draw names each week and do acts of service for the person they drew. Every time a secret service was performed (making a bed, doing a chore, helping in a secret way, etc.), the one doing the serving would add a piece of straw to the manger. The idea was to have a soft bed ready for Jesus on Christmas morning by doing many acts of service for one another.
  • Worship – Christmas is about Jesus, so we should make sure we spend time worshipping with our church family and with our individual family. If you do not have family devotions on a regular basis, this Christmas season would be a good time to get started.
  • Movies – Watch some Christmas movies. Rent or buy the Nativity and watch it together as a family.
  • Missions – Christmas is also about missions. During December, we always receive an offering for international missions in our church. Giving to our missions offering is a great way to remember this season is about Jesus and His mission in the world. Whether your church receives an offering or not, why not include a special gift to missions as a gift to Jesus?
  • Games – We play games during the holidays and enjoy being together. A family who plays together stays together.

 Christmas is such a fun season. Hopefully this year we will also remember it is Christ’s birthday. What will you do to celebrate Jesus this year? Share your ideas in the comments section below.