{We’re talking about holiday traditions this month that make Advent more meaningful. Missed the first three? Catch up on the Jesse Tree, Random Acts of Kindness, and The Amazing Story of Advent here.}

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The Power of a Hymn

That night we showed up singing at our neighbors’ doorsteps, looking like a ragtag bunch of carolers in the freezing cold, our breath filling the air, we must have seemed a bit odd.

Who else shows up unannounced on a dark winter’s night?

Oh, just the new neighbors and a few of their friends.

Some people seemed delighted, some looked a bit confused, still others may have hid from us fearing we were Jehovah’s Witnesses ready to strike up a theological conversation.

All we wanted was to share was a song, some holiday cheer when the world feels dark and cold.

Sometimes when the world presses hard, it’s music that keeps us going, tells us to carry on, soothes the soul.

It’s a bit of a mystery–why the mixture of sound and voice moves us to tears and comforts us in our darkest night. We can explain how planets tilt and whirl and spin in dizzying circles around the sun, but we can’t explain why music touches us deep, why Handel’s Messiah makes us cry.

Because the truth is, some of us will lose our mind in old age, but will still remember all the words to a hymn.IMG_0644I’ve seen the aged drowning in dementia—their blank stares when they can’t remember a name, or who they are, or why this person, who might be their grandson, is sitting next to them.

But the music starts and there’s a sudden spark in their eyes.

A moment of recognition, then an old hymn sung in a shaky, worn voice.

They couldn’t tell you what they did yesterday, but they know all the words to an ancient song from a hymn book with broken binding and a torn cover.

Somewhere in the darkness of their foggy mind, praise springs forth.

This is a complete mystery: how the mind, slowly decaying, can pull off this feat, can remember what should be long forgotten.

Because in the end, let it be said that we were still singing.

When we’re facing death, let it be said that His praise was still on our lips.

When I forget all else, let it be said that His name was the last word, the last song leading to the new beginning.

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{Many of my friends have already downloaded this new music from the worship pastors and volunteers at our church, including my husband, Sam. This special Christmas album is free for you! Email subscribers click here for the download.}

Sara

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