Music is Celebration

Ps 33:3
Sing to him a new song; play skillfully, and shout for joy.

Thanksgiving Day is a day of celebration. We gather with loved ones to tell each other how much we appreciate those loving relationships. We need each other. And we need God. Many families use the Thanksgiving holiday to show appreciation to God by caring for others and serving at a large feast for those who can’t afford to create their own.

But it’s funny that the music of Thanksgiving weekend is Christmas music.

I thought about how many Thanksgiving songs I’ve heard and realized there are amazingly few. I think people quite readily associate music with Christmas, but Thanksgiving is mostly just about food.

Our Thanksgiving Day is a holiday we celebrate as Americans, but Christmas is celebrated all around the globe. If the whole world could pick one day to come together and express thanks for our individual blessings, not only would I be stunned by God once again making the impossible possible, I would also expect to hear celebration music from many different cultures.

Celebration music is lively and joyful. It makes you want to get up and dance. I would suggest that we have a Thanksgiving Dance, but no one would attend. We’re all too busy preparing for a table full of food and a shopping cart full of Christmas presents. Who has time to celebrate?

So maybe Sundays could be our time of lively, joyful singing and dancing. I think that we, as Christians, must take time to sing songs of thanksgiving to God who gave us the blessings we’re all thankful for.

Whenever you choose to celebrate, remember to find time to celebrate with God. Sing to him – in the shower, if you must. Find CDs to sing along with or just make up your own tunes. But whatever you do, sing.

Music is Communication

Ps 27:6
Then my head will be exalted above the enemies who surround me; at his sacred tent I will sacrifice with shouts of joy; I will sing and make music to the Lord.

When my husband sings me a love song, I don’t hear the song as much as I hear his message. It’s a sacrifice for him since he’s not really a singer. I understand and appreciate what he’s doing to get his message across. When we sing in church, I’m pretty sure God feels the same way about us. He isn’t interested in hearing “professional performance” voices, because he wants to hear our message.

I think the same thing applies with other kinds of songs and messages. The Happy Birthday Song is usually only sung at someone’s birthday, but it’s more than a birthday song. The message is more like “We love you.” You can change things about a song to change its message. For instance, “If You’re Happy And You Know It” sung in a minor key sounds sarcastic or sad, regardless of the words you’re singing.

Movies are good at making the most of the film’s emotional punch by using “mood music”. The scary music lets the audience know the villain is somewhere nearby. Scene changes involve music to let the audience know what to expect of the new scene.

When I read the verse from Psalms featured above, I picture someone feeling confident about God’s power, giving thanks, and singing about God to God. Our faith in God can become such a rich issue that we can’t help but burst forth in song. Such a powerful joy at the provision of God in difficult circumstances makes people so full of thanksgiving that they feel like dancing and singing.

What kind of music should be playing when you’re with God in prayer?

Music Makes Things Memorable

Deuteronomy 31:19
Now write down this song and teach it to the Israelites and have them sing it, so that it may be a witness for me against then.

I have found it interesting that you can find a lot of songs in the Bible. After Moses led the Israelites out of Egypt and across the Red Sea on dry ground, they sang a song. People sang about David’s bravery with, “Saul has slain his thousands, and David his tens of thousands.” And in the book of Revelation (Rev 5:9) a song was sung to Jesus, “You are worthy to take the scroll and to open its seals, because you were slain, and with your blood you purchased for God persons from every tribe and language and people and nation.”

People, no matter which race or religion or education level, often cannot keep themselves from singing at major celebrations. Think about weddings, graduations, and even sports events. Many people seem to burst out with song when their emotions take flight. Joy leads their mouths in glorious music.

What do you do to celebrate a major event in your life? Most people around me sing “Happy Birthday To You” a few times each year for their family and friends. I look forward to Christmastime because there are many opportunities to hear Handel’s “Messiah”, which is some of my favorite music.

What do you sing about? Because of today’s technology, many people don’t wait for a major event to take place. We sing what we hear on TV commercials. Jingles are memorable.

We can make up our own jingles to help us remember things. My kids learned to sing educational songs in their early years. That made learning anything fun and easy to remember. I think God wants us to use music to learn his promises from the Bible. That’s one of the things I like about Christian music. When I hear God’s words repeated in a memorable song on the radio, that makes it easier to remember scriptures.

If college kids can prepare for tests by singing, certainly we can teach our children God’s promises by singing.

Give it a try.

Music has Passion

1 Chronicles 6:31
These are the men David put in charge of the music in the house of the Lord after the ark came to rest there.
Whom did God put in charge of music? People with great skill. People who could perform with a lot of heart. David was a composer and singer. He knew songs. He knew how to choose men to be leaders of choirs.

Have you ever heard someone sing with so much passion it made you want to sing along with that much passion or cry from the emotion of the performance? I have. I’ve listened to performances that left me speechless. Powerful performances make you feel and think.

When we worship God, are we giving everything we have to the performance before God? Do we sing in church like we were face-to-face with God and reaching out to minister to him with our hearts?

I imagine there are a lot of people who get distracted in church because of the padding or lack of it in the chairs, the temperature of the air, the people sitting nearby, or (these days) a buzz letting you know you’ve just received a text. I wonder what would happen to our relationship with God if we came to church to worship, really worship from the heart, with other believers. If we turned our phone completely off or (gasp) left it at home, would we have the courage to look God in the face and sing to him?

Would we be able to focus on pleasing God with our songs if we set aside our likes/dislikes and didn’t get disappointed that our favorite song hasn’t been sung in church for weeks? What about God? I don’t think he has a favorite song, but I think he has a favorite activity. He loves to listen to his children singing.

I’m a mom who used to hear my small children singing while playing with whatever toys they had in their hands at the time. Of course they weren’t worshiping me, but I loved listening to them. I’m sure God sometimes hears our worship songs and wonders why we even showed up for church. When we come prepared to make a joyful noise or a sound of thanksgiving in the company of our brothers and sisters, God leans in to hear it.

I know God wants more of our hearts. This month, I will make Music the topic for our consideration. Music is one of the ways God sees how we feel about him. When he hears our hearts, he can see that we’re throwing off complacency and selfishness in order to find special time with him.

Don’t let the month go by without growing in your musical gifts. Let’s seek God together in music.