There was no red carpet, but musty hay to lead the way. With a muffled sound of gathered sheep and a baby’s cry in the distance, it seemed a very ordinary night.
But singing, oh there was singing. Rejoicing as our Savior was born, even in the midst of unexpected surroundings and circumstances; there was a resounding song of praise. The angels sang of the glory of God come to earth, and I am betting that Mary’s song of praise continued as she held tightly, not just to her little miracle, but to the One she would share with the world.
You see she sang before that moment in the manger. Before Luke 2, was Luke 1 – Mary magnified the Lord. She had heard the promise, and before she ever saw her miracle in tangible form, she praised.
Birthing is hard work. I can now testify to that fact, as we celebrate our 9-month-old daughter’s first Christmas! I have a whole new appreciation for Mary birthing Jesus in a stable. “You go, girl!” might be appropriate at this point. Seriously, way to go Mary. No fancy hospital or modern medicine, but a promise to lean in to as she gave birth to her first child… the reason we all have a ‘baby’s first Christmas’!
You see, before we ever experience a miracle, an answered prayer or promise, I believe a song in our heart can lead the way. Before the “new”, comes the song. I listened to a sermon this week about the Israelites and how many times they were commanded to sing unto the Lord (Exodus 15). There are over 400 verses in the Bible about singing, and 50 specific verses commanding us to sing! Worship prepares our hearts for the promise. I wonder if without it, we would miss it entirely? I wonder if worship prepared Mary’s heart to receive the promise, however He would come.
Timothy Keller says that “In religion, you worship God because He is useful. In Christianity, you worship God because He is beautiful.”
As we celebrate Christmas this weekend, whatever season you are in – receiving a new promise of hope for the future, birthing something new and feeling the hard work, or celebrating God’s goodness in your life – may your heart be filled with a song this Christmas. I hope you pause just long enough to sing a new song, and lean into the gift we have in Jesus. He is so so beautiful.
Merry Christmas to you all! xo