[#pictureAdvent] December 14: SING

By Jeremy Hearn
eleven20 Worship Leader, First United Methodist Church
Lakeland, FL

First, read Isaiah 12:4-6

The year that Christmas found me, when I couldn’t find Christmas.

I will never forget the Christmas Eve of 2003. That brisk Florida morning was the morning my mom would begin her first chemotherapy treatment after being diagnosed with an aggressive stage of cancer just a week or so earlier.

It was around 3:00 that afternoon that I realized Christmas that year was going to be anything but normal. We were not going to be attending our favorite German eatery for dinner before Christmas Eve service. We would not be going to parties with friends after service, like we did most years. And Lord only knew how dreadful Christmas morning was shaping up to be.

My dad, brother, sister and I somehow mustered up the strength to make it to Christmas Eve at church that night. But it wasn’t the same knowing Mom was at home, sick and alone.

As the service finished, we fought through the crowd to get out of the sanctuary to return home to our mom. Our worship leader stopped me and asked if it was OK if he brought my mom a little surprise that night.

Upon arriving home, we pulled up to find members of our church and praise team walking up to the house with candles in hand. We encouraged mom that she had a special surprise waiting for her on the front porch and that it was too big to bring up stairs. We opened the front door to find even more people showing up.

Holding lit candles, everyone began singing carols and a few worship songs to us as we sat on the steps of the front porch. All in tears, we knew God was in our midst and that we had nothing to worry about. He would be with us through this season.

Christmas morning was now upon us, family was gathering, and Mom wasn’t going to make it down for the morning round of presents and breakfast to follow. There was something else missing too: Mom’s egg strata casserole.

We knew Christmas just wasn’t going to be same, once again. We started getting a little down and passed around some gifts, when around 9am the doorbell rang.

We opened the door to find a close friend standing in her PJs with an egg strata casserole for us.

“I woke up at 6:00 this morning and couldn’t stop thinking about what you must be experiencing this morning, so I knew the least I could do was bring you breakfast.”

Having no idea what she just did for the family, we all were back in tears, and finally, Christmastime was here. We sat around the table to eat, turn on some music, and The Peanuts “Christmas Time is Here” was the song that was playing.

God knows, and is with us every step of the way. No matter where you are today in a place of Christmas joy or struggling to find that joy this year. God is with us every step of the way.

For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord. (Romans 8:38-39)

Prayer: Lord, you know our hearts. You know those who love you and even those who don’t know you. Help me to follow your Spirit, that I might be a little drop of Christmas cheer for someone else today, in Jesus name. Amen

Discussion/Reflection Questions:

1.       How have you found strength in hard times to still “sing to the Lord, who has done glorious things?”

2.       What is a way you can bring God’s song into the life of someone who needs it during this season?

3.       Who is a specific person in your life who might need to hear God’s song this week?