“Let ev’ry heart prepare him room, and heav’n and nature sing…”
Dear siblings in Christ,
In this unusual holiday season, I am hearing the grief in people’s voices. It’s a grief I share with you. There is grief due to separation, illness, uncertainty, and loss. And for a community like Trinity with a rich tradition of music, we are all wondering: how can we celebrate Christmas without singing together?
We of course know the reasons we can’t sing together safely at this time. Cases of Coronavirus have spiked again in Wisconsin, and we all have a part to play in slowing the spread for the sake of our neighbors. And singing in close proximity with others turns out to be a high-risk activity due to the spread of exhaled respiratory droplets.
But knowing the reasons doesn’t make the grief any less real.
We all know that Christmas will be different this year, but that doesn’t mean Christmas won’t happen. Nothing can prevent Christ from being born again into our world. I have a new appreciation for the miracle of birth this year, and we need the good news of Jesus’ birth more than ever this year.
Christmas is ultimately more than our traditions. It’s not something we do; it’s something God does to rescue us. Because of this promise, I am finding solace in the familiar hymn “Joy to the World.” This hymn is based on Psalm 96, which speaks of all of heaven and earth singing and celebrating the coming of the Lord. The earth rejoices, the sea roars, the fields exult, and the forests sing! We may not be able to sing together as usual this year, but that doesn’t mean our singing has stopped. I hope
you will be singing at the top of your lungs as you watch the services online this year. Perhaps you can call up a friend or family member and sing for them over the phone. Or if you’re feeling especially crazy on Christmas morning, you can stand on your front step and (from a safe distance) sing for your neighbors!
“Joy to the World” reminds us that wherever we sing we are joining the song of all of heaven and earth. As Jesus himself says, “I tell you, if [my disciples] were silent, the stones would shout out” (Luke 19:40).
Let heaven and earth and Trinity sing!
Your brother in Christ,
Pastor Andy Twiton