When I work in my basement office, I often listen, as I am now, to what some might call light jazz (Fourplay, Andreas Vollenweider, Flim and the BBs, Pieces of a Dream, Chris Botti). As the simple and yet intricate melodies and harmonies surround me, I am aware that this music genre that I thoroughly enjoy is not a “cup of tea” for everyone. That includes my wife, Sue, who is more into classical music and female vocalists. But that’s okay; each of us can have different musical interests (and, for some, that means no interest in music at all), without there being an existential crisis.
For those who do enjoy music in one or more of its many forms, whether it’s to sing, to compose, to play an instrument, or just to listen, there is an infinite set of choices, an unlimited number of ways to enjoy the sounds, the notes, the technique, the proficiency. Wherever you are on this spectrum, music can play a significant role as you strive for peace and happiness in your life.
We use music every week in our worship service to underscore the messages that are read from the Bible, offered in our liturgy, and preached by the pastor. Hymn choices are made in advance using published guides that help connect appropriate seasonal selections with the theme or message for the day. Given that connection, hymns provide opportunities for reflection over the words contained in their verses.
Many hymns are very well known, especially those that are sung in preparation for and at our festival services on Christmas Eve and Easter. Sometimes, though, we fall into the trap of singing those very familiar songs without letting the texts sink in. At times, I fall into this trap myself.
We are approaching one of those festivals, Christmas Eve. Many of the hymns we sing for the next three Sundays will speak to the coming of our Lord both as a new born child and as the returning Christ at the Second Coming. As you sing or hum or listen to the hymns, let the words leave an impression in your mind. And, let the music that announces that Christ is coming provide you with peace and happiness.