Day 4 – Good News in Music

[Note from Tilly: Finding myself pregnant at Christmas for the third time, I’ve committed to do a short advent devotional each weekday of December . They will all be labeled by date and can be found together under the “Advent” subject category.]

2018 Advent Series – Day 4

Justin and I found ourselves at the Schermerhorn Symphony Center two nights ago. It was the annual Dave Barnes Christmas show, and we’d never been.

Towards the end of the evening, an older man who was a friend of Dave’s sat on the stage alone under a spotlight. He read a story he’d written about the nativity. The object of his story was to bring flesh and blood and sweat back to the figures that we see on everybody’s mantels and lawns around this time of year, and it was done beautifully. Before a full audience, in a room festooned with greenery, chandeliers, and twinkling lights, he spoke of the familiar three in terms that were designed to awaken the imagination and the curiosity that we once might have felt about that night in a Bethlehem stable.

His audience was full of Millenials, Nashvillian ones who love music and are well dressed. They’d heard talent already to satisfy and amaze. They’d heard a stunning array of voices, singing Christmas classics old and new. But at this point in the evening, the Christmas story became explicit. It was dwelt on and savored by the man on stage and by at least some of those in the room. After the story, another lone figure came out on stage. He turned out to be winner of The Voice in 2015, we were later told. He sang “O Holy Night,” and it was easily the most powerful song of the evening.

I couldn’t help but wonder what the song meant to him, and what it meant to each individual in the audience. I couldn’t help but rejoice that in the month of December–thought we’re inundated with meaningless commercials and every possible empty sentiment that the world can produce–we also come inescapably into contact with truth. And not every heart can see the truth and leap into joy at the mention of a name. But many hearts can.

Brothers and sisters together, we find this season to be full of triggers to joy: A card in the mail that says “Rejoice: For Unto Us a Child is Born.” A song on the radio that meant less to the hired vocalist singing it (Kelly Clarkson?) than to you as it hits your ears. Even things without intrinsic verbal message–things like cookies and lights and trees. For the heart awake to joy, these things are a feast that lead us back to the same Excelsis Deo that our hearts have flowed with all year long.

It just leads the heart there with extra sensory props, means of joy that we take as gifts from the same good Father who sent Him whose birth the angels sang.



giver of every good gift under sun and under stars, let us see your hand in the trappings of December. We find your glory everywhere, so let us use this time of rejoicing to call attention for all who will hear. You are the star that calls every wise man and woman to yourself. Fill our hearts with you, and use every possible means to do so.

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