Christmas Carols

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I had the pleasure of going Christmas caroling with my former church choir. Our former director gathered a group of us (about 30) to visit 6 assisted living centers in our area. We sang several carols with the Christmas story interspersed between songs. Simple yet powerful. The men and women in the facilities were visibly moved by the music. Several sang, some wept and others waved their hands to the music. We even caroled through the hallways to visit those who were unable to leave their rooms. It was a beautiful experience.

What is it about Christmas caroling that brings such emotion? Is the topic being sung about? Is it the music that stirs the heart-strings? I think it’s the memories associated with those songs. Some memories are good. Some are bad. Many are bittersweet. Christmas carols are the ultimate way to reminisce. It leads us down memory lane.

What song brings back the most memories for you? Which one leads to the happiest memory? What song are you avoiding because it was the favorite of a loved one who is no longer here?

If you aren’t listening to KOST 103.5 FM and their Christmas music daily, I encourage you to do so for an hour or so. See what memories can be stirred. ‘Tis the season to reminisce. ‘Tis the season to have fond memories. ‘Tis the season to be reminded of those we love.

I encourage you to enlist some friends to go caroling. You can sing along with a CD in the living room or walk to a few neighbor’s houses and bring them some Christmas joy through carols. Let the songs of the season bring back the memories of years gone by. Soak it in. Let the carols stir your heart this season.

Dream Big! Pray Big!

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Christmas busy

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‘Tis the season to be busy. Fa la la la la la la la la.

I ran into a friend at my daughter’s piano recital. She asked how I was and I replied “busy.” That is my standard answer these days. She said she is working hard to wrap up their homeschooling so they can enjoy 3 weeks off for the holiday season. Wow. She didn’t want to be busy this year. I applaud her intentionality. I want to follow her lead.

We have already finished the orchestra Christmas concert at the junior high and now the piano recital. All that’s left is shuttling kids to Christmas parties and events. However, that is an endless list of random events on various nights up to Christmas Eve. How can I slow down with 3 teenagers? I don’t want to rob them of attending the fun things planned for them by their friends and church. We are even hosting one of these Christmas parties. Saying no just doesn’t feel like the answer. To me, the answer is presence not presents.

I will be present with my kids when they are home. We can play a game, watch a cheesy holiday movie or bake something. I can even sit in the room with them while they study for finals next week. We can just be in the presence of one another. Since they each have so many things to go to, I will get 1-on-1, or 2-on-1, time with them. That will help a lot too. I have found with 3 kids, just changing the mix from 3 to 2 changes the dynamic.

So I will be intentionally present with my kids. I don’t plan to cut our events but to savor the in-between times. I love the season and the joyful events that surround it. I don’t want to say no. But I can say yes to being available in-between. So savor the season and the things you love about it. Attend the Christmas cookie exchange, go to the last-minute party that popped up and when you are home, be fully home. Be attentive to those in your house. Be intentional.

‘Tis the season to be present. Fa la la la la la la la la.

Dream Big! Pray Big!

Christmas Music

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I must confess, we started listening to Christmas music before Thanksgiving this year. Thank you KOST 103.5. My eldest daughter and I love it. The house is decorated except for the tree. We still get real trees so it’s a bit too early to buy it. The lights are hung outside. The blow up nativity is puffed up. It’s Christmas time.

I love walking through the mall or Target or even Albertsons and hearing songs about our Savior, Jesus and His dad, God. He is being proclaimed in public places. Truth is being heard. People can learn about God just by listening to Christmas music. What a joy that these songs are still being played every year. Obviously Jingle Bells isn’t going to lead you to Jesus but O Holy Night or even Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas (if they use the line “If the Lord allows” not “fates allow.”) will. When you hear His truth being played, say a prayer for your fellow shoppers. They may be hearing about Jesus for the first time. You never know.

The other part about Christmas music is how inspired it is by the Holy Spirit. I had the pleasure of attending the Bonner Singers Christmas Concert this year. I sang in this professional choir over 20 years ago. It was a powerful experience. Sitting in the audience, seeing old friends in the choir and watching the amazing conducting of Doc and Judd Bonner touched my heart. Yet the music – it touched my soul. I wept through a lot of the songs. These singers, who love Jesus, are able to convey the true message because the spirit is in them and in those who wrote the music. When performers know the Lord, the music is elevated to a higher level and reaches to a deeper part of us. I am sad to say that I had forgotten the power of music until this concert. Thank you Lord for the reminder. I was changed by being there.

Let the truth of the season soak in – Jesus came to live as a human in order to relate to us on our level and ultimately to pay the price for our sins through His death and resurrection (Easter). Let the music of the season seep into your soul. Be changed by the lyrics. Find the message in each song. Let His Spirit invade your heart this Christmas. May the music, inspired by the truth of Jesus, be your guide this holiday.

Dream Big! Pray Big!