Monday, December 26, 2011
Oh Holy Night turns into crawl on your knees!!!
Christmas in 2011
God works miracles in lives every single day. Christians find out that God is not simply "fire insurance", He is a loving friend and source of wisdom and leadership and He has power to heal and do mighty things within hearts that you just can't see with your eyes. The Love of God is working in lives all over the world. He is not a God of party tricks, rather, He is a God of long-term relationships and is always there for you no matter what is happening in your life. Yes, there are those who use God as an excuse for bad behavior. But the real God always brings love into the situation.
Yesterday most of our family got to meet and have Christmas dinner at my daughter Sara's house. The weekend before we had gone to visit Debbie's Mom and Aunt Joyce. Next weekend we will visit my Mom and my spiritual father and my cousin Jan. We also have to figure out when we can spend time with Dan and Amanda in there somewhere. So much family but all within two hours driving time of us so we can visit them as long as I am not having health issues and thankfully most of that is receding in my rear view mirror.
Only God can explain what has happened in my family. My first wife (to whom I was married for twenty years) is the mother of my four biological children. We were divorced and I wound up with custody of the four children and she wound up eventually remarrying the man she married first when she was very young and for many years there was nothing but strife between us. But there were reasons this happened (among them being a false teacher telling her being married again was adultery and she could only be married to her first husband)!
Her name is Sue and the guy she married is Joe. In her defense, when she became born again she became a great wife and caused me to consider God seriously. So there were good years in that marriage after God entered in. I am also sure both she and Joe thought that false teaching was true and were conflicted about it all after hearing such teaching over the years from unbiblical teachers.
God's Timing is always Perfect
About three years back one of my "Godkids" (kids who spent a large part of their time over at my house, hanging out with me and my kids and coming to church with us and so on) was getting married and Debbie and I wound up being seated with Joe and Sue at the wedding reception. We actually found ourselves being able to be civil to each other and we all realized forgiveness had happened all around.
Now Joe and Sue are family to us, so last night we were all sitting together with them and the children who could be there ( two had to work) and my two grandsons. We had Thanksgiving dinner over at Joe and Sue's house! My daughter Michelle now lives with them and my granddaughter Angie spends part of her time there and part with her fraternal Grandpa (Angie's father has passed away). So God has miraculously taken people who you would think would avoid each other like the plague and made them close family. I just cannot tell you how awesome this is for all of us, and how great it is for the kids and grandkids! For grandchildren, the more grandparents in your life the better! When you don't need to have separate celebrations for different parts of the family because of hurt feelings and held grudges then birthdays and holidays are all good!!!
Back to our movie - so last night we all are having a great time together and I was fixing Sue's computer (expired anti-virus and an infection, both of which I managed to fix despite some internet issues) after dessert and present-opening and lots of shared memories and jokes and fun. Sara of course wanted to sing some Christmas songs, so we began singing a bunch of them from memory since much of the family band was there. We began to sing "O Holy Night" with me singing lead and Sara and Rob doing harmonies and the others bringing backing vocals, spontaneously beginning to sing it and no one having the words in front of them. This song is my favorite Christmas song and I know it is Sara's, too. We've both sung this in church before with backing choirs. We sang it together in the family band in a certain way, but when Sara and I did it as soloists we did the last verse differently, so....
All was going just right until we were doing the final refrain when Sara and I began with different endings. I began to sing "Christ is the Lord" at the same time Sara started "Fall on your knees" and as a long-time singer with live bands I immediately adjusted to her and changed to her decision to begin the chorus that way but what Rob heard was "crawl on your knees" and, while still singing he dropped to the ground and began crawling on the floor! I lost it! Everybody who "got it" right away began laughing! It was perfect comedic timing and I laughed for half a measure before I could get back to singing and we all finished it off half-singing and half-laughing! I wish I could just bottle that and send it to everybody! A merry heart does good like a medicine!!!
"O Holy Night" is a wonderful, serious song and a great song for someone with a great vocal range and timing because it starts quietly and seriously and builds in power and volume and at the end, if you have the range, you take the already-high ending notes up an octave and boom out the word "divine" and then taper off the outro with less power and with a respectful reverence. It can be truly inspiring if you have an operatic voice and Sara and Rob and I (Dave can, too, but he had to work at the pharmacy on Christmas, darn it) were blessed with such abilities so we can sing it with all the reverence and range and power it deserves. Last night it began with joy and sincerity and ended with everyone laughing so hard we could barely finish it at all.
Crawl on your knees?! You know, a lot of times living the Christian life is exactly that. There are times you can't run the race, you can't even walk and those are times you crawl. When you can't crawl you just kneel and pray and hang on to whatever the end of whatever rope it happens to be and call on God. I've ridden on the awesome wave of God's blessing and I have clung desperately to the end of ropes waiting for God to come to the rescue. Mountaintops, valleys, oases, deserts without a canteen, banquets of great joy - God is always there. He healed our family, made it bigger, made it strong and I will serve Him with all my heart for the rest of my days. This song expresses my heart and my determination to follow Him forever: