Today is the twelfth day of Christmas. Epiphany. Three Kings Day.
I had several epiphanies (or epiphani) of my own today. I also visited with three wise men. After the third fruitful encounter, I came home to rest my swelling cranium for fear it might rupture. Many a seed was watered today on what is already fertile ground. Stay with me as I write Random Musings deviating from light-hearted whimsy to those casting light in dark valleys. There’s never a dull moment inside my mind.
Today I want to talk about Christmas carols to wrap up the season. And to warm things up, I’m going to return to southern Belize with a reflection that melted my heart.
Have a virtual seat in this chair and think warm thoughts.
Feel the sand between your toes?
During the holiday season, I heard a carol that quoted scripture. I knew the song by heart at a young age but wasn’t aware the lyric was from the Word. The song became all the more meaningful as I sang along in my car. There was no ox or lamb present to keep the time. [pah rum pah pah pum]
Many times during our recent mission journey in Belize we spontaneously broke into song on our bus rides. There were twelve of us from various places. It’s not like we all grew up in the same church or went to bible camp together. Yet, many of us knew the same songs. Many of the songs hadn’t come to mind for years. As forgetful as my mind can be, the words came back.
As much as I want to leave my past behind me, I found peace knowing these songs have been carried with me all these years. The peace comes from recalling the difficult times of life when a lyric came to mind to calm a stormy sea. I had forgotten.
I am not gifted with a voice for solos but I do enjoy blending my voice with others; the more, the merrier. It was fun to worship with my teammates on our way to teach, evangelize, or simply enjoy the landscape of Belize on our journey.
Our team of 12 was divided into smaller groups for teaching each evening. A few taught the men, others the women, teens, or children. This was a new approach: teaching in the evening so families could attend as well as the concept of dividing into small groups. It proved to be enriching beyond our expectations. We continued with this style of teaching each night and divided into smaller groups to expound deeper and discover more. The teens were separated by gender which was helpful as they had new hormones they hadn’t learned how to manage yet. The immature ‘mones manifested as taunts and agitations. Testosterone and estrogen were best segregated to truly reach their young souls.
The adult women also benefited from breakout sessions. It modeled small group study and sisterly encouragement; something they hadn’t been told could be done in church. The men accepted the segregation with appreciation the womenfolk would be fed. This isn’t acceptable in some cultures.
Something else happened in Belize when the men and women were separated. Our men and women… our team. Yes, we were separated in gender-specific dorms at night, but the thing that was magical came by happenchance, never planned or rehearsed.
On one of our bus rides, we spontaneously started singing–
“Father, I adore you. Lay my life before you. How I love you!”
We sang each verse… Father, Jesus, Spirit… And then someone said, “Lets sing it in a round!”
The ladies started and the guys joined. What came out was the most beautiful, harmonious worship song! Not ever, but from our group. Ya, we could sing okay, but this was something special!
The churches we visited asked us to sing a few songs. It’s part of their culture… we sing to welcome you, you sing in return.
The first time we sang our special song, you could see their faces light up as if the VonTrapp family had just returned from exile!
What was my childhood memory sung to Pastor Keith’s guitar in the ’70s is now a present day gift to my soul.
I have a difficult time memorizing things as I get older. It started around age 16. I often joke that my cranial RAM memory is filled with senseless things like jingles from TV commercials and sitcoms. I’m slowly swapping out data with more useful knowledge but may never forget the theme song to Gilligan’s Isle, hard as I try. It’s creepy and its kooky; mysterious and spooky.
[That joke is going to be lost somewhere over the Atlantic. My apologies to me readers on the other side of the planet.]
Back to “wrapping” or “rapping” up Christmas… punny, eh?
With each Christmas melody I heard, I hoped someone who didn’t understand what this season is all about would unknowingly memorize scripture. And one day, out of the blue, they might recall, “…be near me, Lord Jesus, I ask thee to stay close by me forever and love me, I pray”
What comfort that sweet sentence gives!
I know that my redeemer lives! So, so many songs are imbedded in my mind. I can recall them if I simply stop filling my memory with useless, trivial gook and continue to absorb what is good, nobel, and pure.
“Finally, brothers and sisters, fill your minds with beauty and truth. Meditate on whatever is honorable, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is good, whatever is virtuous and praiseworthy.” Phillipians 4:8
It is far more useful than a partridge in a pear tree!
Okay, the Wise Men have left the building. Epiphany is now over. Put away your inflatable lawn decor for another 11 months and BE the light of Christ until next Christmas or until Jesus returns, whichever comes first.
Sleep in heavenly peace.