When I wake up in a morning, the first thing I try and do is to thank the Lord for a new day, because every day is a gift from God, and as someone said, a day full of opportunity, hope and blessings. The other morning I woke up and started singing. I was perhaps a little croaky at first, but that verse in Psalm 100, ‘make a joyful noise unto the Lord’ came to mind. I often say it doesn’t matter what it sounds like as long as the singing is joyful and sung with meaning.
I wonder if you like singing. Whether we are ‘good’ and are of choir standard, or just like to make a noise and enjoy singing, and perhaps only sing in the bath, music lifts the spirits and is good for the soul. Music is universal, whatever language, whatever tongue, we can sense and feel if a piece of music is jubilant or docile, lively or solemn, quiet and calming, reflective and restful, gentle and melodious and so on. How good it is to hear someone whistling as they go about their work, a post person or refuse collector for example. It is lovely to know that someone is happy and enjoying their work.
The Bible speaks a lot about singing and praising God. It does not say those with beautiful voices sing, as if natural talent were required to praise God. The Bible just says sing! Dozens and dozens of times we are told to sing, to sing praises, to sing joyfully, to sing new songs, to come into God’s presence with singing.
As we turn to the Christmas story, we can think about Mary. Just going about her usual daily work, suddenly an angel appears. We cannot really comprehend how she must have felt. The Angel Gabriel tells her not to be afraid. She is favoured in God’s sight and has been chosen to become the mother of God’s own son Jesus. What a shock for Mary. No wonder she exclaims, “How can this be when I am a virgin?” The angel reassures her that the Holy Spirit will come upon her and she will give birth to a son, God’s own son. Mary, no doubt overwhelmed and in shock, responds with the words, “I am the Lord’s servant. Let it be so”.
It isn’t long before Mary quickly hurries off to see Elizabeth who lives in Judea. Elizabeth is expecting a baby, and Mary must have thought she would be a good friend to talk to.
As soon as Elizabeth sees Mary, the babe in Elizabeth’s own womb leaps for joy. Elizabeth, filled with the Holy Spirit, bursts into song, “You are so blessed among women, and the babe in your womb is also blessed. When I heard your greeting the babe in my womb leaped for joy. You are a blessed woman because you have believed everything the angel said will come true”.
Mary responds with joy and bursts into song herself, singing how her soul glorifies the Lord, and her spirit rejoices in God her Saviour. These words are known as the Magnificat, a song that is still sung in our churches today.
The two ladies are exuberant, singing and dancing, their hearts bursting with joy.
How God must have been singing too. Here two of his faithful chosen servants, praising him from the depths of their whole beings.
Have you ever thought about God singing?
When our first child was born, a girl, I remember holding her in my arms and gently singing over her. I made up a lullaby, which I can still recall today. I have no doubt that Mary would sing many a lullaby over her precious son Jesus, as she held him close and gently rocked him to sleep in her arms.
We often think about Angels singing, but when did we last think about God singing? And furthermore, singing over us?
In the book of Zephaniah, in the Old Testament, his message is clear to Jerusalem, “The Lord your God” takes great delight in you, so much so that He “rejoices over you with singing” Zephaniah 3 v 17. Although this message speaks directly to Jerusalem and refers to the city as being the daughter of God, it is likely God sings over us too! That is those who love him and have a relationship with him. We do not know what song it is, but it is a song born out of love for us, so it will be true, pure, and lovely. (Philippians 4 v 8).
There have been times in my life, due to things I have done, or the circumstances around me, when I believe, indeed I know, God has looked down upon me and smiled, and perhaps even been singing! God loves each one of us and there is nothing more that delights him, than us spending time with him. The late Selwyn Hughes asks a question, ‘Does it surprise you that God, the Creator of the whole universe enjoys our company?’.
What can we do today that will make God smile or even sing over us?
God bless you as you sing, as Mary did, of the greatness of God.