Christmas Sing-a-long: Seriously Though, Sing With Me!
Last Sunday, I began teaching 35 elementary aged children about The Magnificat: Mary's Song of Praise. For our opening illustration, I began singing the first few lines of We Wish You a Merry Christmas, Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer, and Jingle Bells . The children immediately burst into song, smiling and laughing as they thought about Santa, Christmas, and presents.
What was particularly striking to me, and has resonated with me throughout this month leading up to Christmas, was that minutes earlier, the same children sat mostly silent as our children's music leader led them in Joy to the World and O Come All Ye Faithful, two very well-known Christmas melodies sung for decades in the Church.
This post is not to encourage families to bunker down and remove themselves from all secular expressions of Christmas. It is not a warning that God hates all gingerbread houses, snowmen, and elves on shelves. It is however, asking the question of why the next generation has lost many of the songs of Christmas? Those simple melodies that bring our focus and priorities back to the joy that is experienced only through the birth, life, death, and resurrection of that little baby from Bethlehem.
Luke 1 points us to Mary's priorities. As Mary hears the news that she is to bring the Savior into the world, her focus immediately becomes on her need for God. Mary says, "My soul magnifies the Lord, and my spirit rejoices in God my Savior, for he has looked on the humble estate of his servant. For behold, from now on all generations will call me blessed; for he who is might has done great things for me, and holy is his name."
Why does Mary's soul magnify the Lord? Why does she sing with joy? Because of who God is, because He is Savior, caring, and holy.What does this have to do with our children singing? Mary's priorities and focus were on her Lord. And out of that focus came the overflowing passion to sing! What are your child's and your family's priorities? If they are like most of us, our priorities are on ourselves... what do I get, how do I stay comfortable?
When our priority is ourselves, then we focus on Santa, because Santa gives us what we want. It makes total sense that our children get excited to sing about Rudolph and the jingling of bells because they are taught that it is through "getting" that one is made happy.
What if we took a page from Mary and made the Savior a priority? What if we sang and taught our children Christ-focused lyrics, pointing to the fact that it is only through Jesus that a person in this world can receive joy.
We love our children at Willow Creek Church! We love them so much, that we are committed to helping them sing the song that they were born to sing, the song of Jesus Christ the King.
Willow Creek Church Director of Children's Ministry