December 18, 2009

Dec. 18: Music in the heart

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By Odelet Nance, director of multicultural affairs
SCRIPTURE: Luke 1:39-45 (NRSV)
Scroll down for complete Scripture.

DEVOTIONAL:
I hear music of Christmas everywhere. In the stores, in businesses and on the radio, the sounds of Christmas ring loud and clear. Music can be transformative and transcend barriers.

One my favorite songs is titled, “Perfect and True.” The lyrics are based on Psalms 8:4 and beautifully proclaim: “What is man that thou art mindful of him? Could an awesome God find common ground within? Just to know that you delight to be with me fills my heart, with joy.” I am prompted to sing when I think about the favor of God and his blessed plan for our lives.

God had a plan for Mary, the mother of Jesus who was there for Jesus’ first miracle, there at the foot of the cross and then she was even present on the day of Pentecost. Mary had been called blessed and highly favored. When you are blessed, you feel obliged to bless others.

This poem by theologian and civil rights leader Howard Thurman reminds us to share the music in the heart and our blessings. “When the song of the angels is stilled, when the star in the sky is gone, when the kings and princes are home, when the shepherds are back with their flock, The work of Christmas begins: to find the lost, to heal the broken, to feed the hungry, to release the prisoner, to rebuild the nations, to bring peace among brothers, to make music in the heart.”

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SCRIPTURE: Luke 1:39-45 (NRSV)

In those days Mary set out and went with haste to a Judean town in the hill country, where she entered the house of Zechariah and greeted Elizabeth. When Elizabeth heard Mary’s greeting, the child leapt in her womb. And Elizabeth was filled with the Holy Spirit and exclaimed with a loud cry, ‘Blessed are you among women, and blessed is the fruit of your womb. And why has this happened to me, that the mother of my Lord comes to me? For as soon as I heard the sound of your greeting, the child in my womb leapt for joy. And blessed is she who believed that there would be a fulfilment of what was spoken to her by the Lord.’

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Comments (9)

  1. I find that meaningful. The real meaning of Christmas begins when we … reach out to others, especially the hurting and broken.

    Edgar Stoesz December 18, 2009 |
  2. Thanks to Odelet for sharing the poem from Howard Thurmans. I’ve been reading more of Thurmans writing over the last several years and have found him a great spiritual resource for his understanding of both the universality and particularity of Jesus.

    Tim Stair December 18, 2009 |
  3. Ms. Odelet’s comment is beautiful and very practical. And consider Mary’s word of greeting. I thing it was truly a sacrament: a combination of material reality (voice) and the Spirit (that enabled John to leap in the womb). Mary is our first priest.
    Merry Christmas and love to all suffering and hurting.
    Mervyn Carapiet

    Mervyn Carapiet December 18, 2009 |
  4. Thank you for Howard Thurman’s poem. It was just what I was looking for in preparing for the Advent 4 proclamation.

    Willmar T. Harder December 18, 2009 |
  5. Howard Thurman had it so right: The REAL work of Christmas begins after all the holiday trappings have been put away. Just as Christ became incarnate in this world and walked among us, so we must continue to incarnate Christ in a world that is still so filled with suffering. The work was begun in that town of Bethlehem, but we must continue that work today.

    Bruce W. Cory December 18, 2009 |
  6. I really appreciated this devotional. I believe that both the part about Mary and Howard Thurman’s quote convey an extraordinarily strong message about continuing the Christmas message after all of the glitz has disappeared. Thank you for sharing!

    Ellen December 18, 2009 |
  7. I needed this encouragement to keep on singing!

    Jo Mick December 20, 2009 |
  8. thank you for a bigger look at Advent.

    Stu Buisch December 24, 2009 |
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