One of my favorite things to do every December is to wake up early each morning and plug in the lights on the Christmas tree. And one of my least favorite things to do all month is to unplug them each night before we go to bed. I don’t feel that way about turning on the lights in the kitchen or switching off the lamp beside the bed; this is something unique to the season. There are probably some things like that for you — things that become part of your routine during Christmas that aren’t necessarily part of it any other time of the year.
Maybe you’re like me and it’s the turning on of the lights. Perhaps it’s some kind of baking you do that you don’t do during June or July. Maybe it’s the progressive wrapping of presents — just another thing that’s worked into your regular schedule that doesn’t happen any other time of the year.
Could I encourage you to add one more to your habits? Make sure that singing — and singing with regularity — is part of your Christmas. That’s not to say you shouldn’t be singing any other time of the year; singing is actually life-giving for the follower of Jesus. But during this season there’s something unique about singing these songs at this time. Let me explain with four reasons to make sure singing is part of your Christmas.
Because We’re Truthseekers
My goodness, the songs of Christmas. They proclaim the good news that Christ, our long-awaited Messiah, has come. Christmas songs have some of the most deeply theological lyrics ever composed, and yet these songs are reserved for this single time of the year. Singing these songs is filling not only your mouth but your soul with the truth of Jesus.
Because We’re Forgetful
We hear about the promises of God over and over again. We read them, meditate on them, study them, sometimes even memorize them, but then at the first sign of trouble in our lives, the questions start. We begin to doubt. Ironically, this can be especially true during Christmas when our laughter and joy are often mingled with tears and sadness. But that’s why we sing.
God has designed us this way. Singing, and music in general, connect with us at a level nothing else does. It lifts the eyes to heaven and the soul follows with it. Perhaps that’s why, throughout the history of Christianity, one of the greatest tools for teaching theology has been music.
Because We’re Emotional
Once again, Christmas brings an emotional swing for most of us. We think about days gone by, and with them, we think about what — and who — we’ve lost. That sense of loss gets mingled in with our sense of hope and joy at the season. This, too, is why we should make it our practice to sing at Christmas.
Emotions are a gift; they’re part, I believe, of what it means to be created in God’s image. Music and singing help connect what our minds might know but our hearts don’t feel. While we can’t be ruled by our emotions, if we never engage emotionally with God, then our faith may grow stale.
Surely this is at least one of the reasons why we’re commanded to sing. God wants a song in our hearts and on our lips for those times when our minds might remember but our hearts forget.
Because We’re Prideful
Singing, for most of us, is undignified. We don’t have trained voices; you’ll never catch us on stage with a microphone. Singing is for children, not for mature adults. If that’s true, then the choice to sing where others can hear you is the choice to forgo your pride. Singing is a choice of humility. And surely this is the season for such meekness when we celebrate the most profound act of humility — that God would descend to us from heaven as a baby in a manger.
Along with everything else that will occupy your attention this Christmas, don’t forget this: Sing, my friends.
This article is adapted from HomeLife Magazine.