Friday, December 7, 2012

Finding New Joy at Advent

     It was all her fault.  My dear friend kept bugging me about joining choir.  I had many excuses for not joining.  The chief one was the time I left work on the evening of rehearsal.  We put in long days in our office and sometimes I do not leave until 6 or 6:30 p.m.  This means I have to race home, let our dogs out, feed them and change clothes.  If I am lucky, I can grab a quick snack to tide me over until I get home at 8:30 p.m.  Then, we have supper.  I had said "no" any number of times due to this reason.  However, this time was different.
     When she approached me, she said that the choir needed a few extra singers for our Christmas presentation.  I would only have to be committed during the month of December and then, we would be finished.  My first thought, as usual, was to say "no".  But there was something stirring in my heart.  Maybe I could do this one little part and contribute to the season.  Little did I know what God had in mind.  I agreed to come and sing.  It had been many years since I had participated in choir, so this would be a fresh start in some respects.
     After the first few rehearsals, I kept going back and forth in my mind over whether I could do this on a regular basis.  Then, I quickly put it out of my mind.  After all, this was a short term commitment, but I do love music.  I am one of those people who cannot get a tune out of my head.  Words stick with me.  When I read a book or watch a movie, I have to be careful because I become so involved that it stays with me for good or bad.  I believe that this is exactly what the Apostle Paul was writing about when he penned these words to Roman Christians:  "I appeal to you therefore, brothers, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and acceptable to God, which is your spiritual worship.  Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect" (Romans 12:1-3).   Singing hymns and songs to the Lord changes us and our thinking.  We become conformed to whatever we spend time doing.
     Driving home after our rehearsals, I found my joy growing.  I loved the sweet fellowship as we worked together to bring glory to God with our voices knowing that our hearts were united in love for God.  Paul again wrote this admonishment in his letter to the church at Ephesus:  "And do not get drunk with wine, for that is debauchery, but be filled with the Spirit, addressing one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing and making melody to the Lord with your heart, giving thanks always for everything to God the Father in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, submitting to one another out of reverence for Christ" (Ephesians 5:18-21).  What we were doing in our rehearsals was encouraging one another in the power of the Holy Spirit.  No wonder I left so uplifted!
     This past Sunday, I decided to join the choir on a regular basis.  My long buried passion for singing to God was reawakened and all by a simple invitation from a persistent friend.  In yielding my time and vocal chords to the Lord, He blesses me back many times over.
     There is a lesson in this.  First, be a friend and invite someone to a Sunday school class, a small group, the choir or to church.  Politely refuse to take "no" for an answer.  Look for those opportunities because there are people out there waiting to be invited to participate.  For months, I worked at inviting a friend to our small group.  She would always decline, but I never gave up.  One day, she came and soon after her husband joined as well.  They were a blessing to us and I believe they also were don't give up on anyone.  Secondly, if you are the person invited, it could be that God is calling you to something new that you have need of for your own life.  Pray about it and seek the Lord's guidance.  He will show you how to work around your schedule.  He did this for me.  
     Serving the Lord and others brings great joy.  Singing and making melody to the Lord brings Him glory.  Is the Lord knocking on your heart's door about something right now?  If so, don't fight it, but try it as I did.  "Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father in heaven" (Matt. 5:6) .  May we be those lights this Advent season and throughout the new year!  Selah!

I welcome your thoughts.  How have you found special joy this Advent Season...what new door has God opened for you?

Pictures courtesy of Wikipedia Commons.


Patricia said...

LOVE, love, love this, Barbara - and I'm praising God for filling your heart with new joy.

Christina said...

Sing away Barbara ... unto His glory! Praising God with Patricia for filling you with new joy!

Barbara Thayer said...

Thank you both ladies! Yes, I am singing with new found Joy....God meets us in such unexpected places but oh, how I love the way He works. May God fill you both with His love and joy this season and throughout the year ahead!