Friday, December 24, 2010

Have You Done It?

Last weekend, I had the privilege of taking part in a Christmas program for the residents at a local nursing home.  I've been wanting to do that for years, because outreach to the sometimes-abandoned elderly is dear to my heart; but I had never made it happen.  This year, however, Josiah wanted the opportunity to play a few piano pieces somewhere, and it worked out for him to play in this program and for me to sing in it.  

It was an incredibly moving experience for me; and if I had more time, I would write much more about it.  But here is what I want to focus on tonight:  one of the women in our group sang "O Holy Night."  And it got me.

Everybody knows that song, right?  When I hear the first notes of it, I usually think, "What a gorgeous song!"  But by the end of it, I'm thinking, "What a long song.  Whew, I'm sort of glad it's over."  Maybe I'm the only one who feels that way.  :)  I'm sure, however, that I'm not the only one who likes to belt out "O niiiiiiight diviiiiiiiine" when no one is around.  I'm pretty sure Jeff doesn't do that.  I'm pretty sure I have a time or two.  This year.  Every time I hear it on the radio.  ;-)

One of the lines in the song says this:
Fall on your knees.
And when I heard Cara belt out that line in the activity room of the nursing home, I thought, "What am I doing on my feet?"  I was so moved by that whole morning of music that I could hardly keep the tears from flowing, though I hid it well, I think.  As I stood there listening to her, my thoughts were racing:  Yes, I should literally fall on my knees.  The awe that God's entrance to earth produces knocks me over.  But if I really do kneel now, what will everyone think?  I'm just here to sing harmony on a few Christmas carols, not to cause a stir or raise a ruckus.  What do I do?

I stood.  I didn't fall on my knees.  The program went on, I kept my tears of wonder in check, and the residents got cookies at the end.  Nice.  But not awesome.  Not awestruck.  I didn't do what the song said.

Until later...

Was it that night or the next that I was here at home, late at night, with everyone else asleep?  The radio was on in the background as I went about my various tasks, when suddenly I heard those familiar arpeggios as "O Holy Night" began.  It wasn't hard to figure out what to do.  Without delay, I dropped to my knees, let the magnificence of the lyrics wash over me, and worshiped.


Have you? 

Have you heard "O Holy Night" this Christmas season?  I would wager (except I don't) that the answer is yes.

Have you done what it says?

Have you fallen on your knees?


Today, I sat on the floor near Shav and watched him play with the figures from our manger scene.
As he lifted the camel and moved the sheep and tried to set one of the Wise Men on the sloping roof and, yes, popped Baby Jesus' head into his mouth (until I gently admonished him, "Don't suck on Jesus, Shav"), I silently prayed.
"May the commonplace not become ordinary.  May my familiarity with this story not breed contempt.  May the easy availability of nativity sets of every size, shape, and material not diminish my respect for who these figures portray."
"Lord, may I never hesitate to fall on my knees before you, aware of the majesty of your coming, and filled with delight in your presence.  Let me not forget Who Christmas is all about."


Homeschool on the Croft said...

It's amazing how this awe of God strikes us sometimes. The first time I played the Messiah in Macy's clip, that's just what came over me. Thankfully, I was on my own - everyone else was still in bed, and I wept and worshipped. There aren't words to describe the blessings either - don't you find that? When you begin telling someone what happened, you end up thinking, 'Oh, why did I begin this - it's not coming across the way it happened in my soul'.
Praise God that one day - in heaven - we'll have a language that will be able to articulate perfectly these glorious experiences with which God blessed us here on earth.
And indeed, let the extraordinary never become ordinary to us. There's nothing 'ordinary' about 'God manifest in the flesh'!
Thanks for posting x

Sarah-Anne said...

what. a. cutie. Shav is adorable!
p.s. and yes, that's what i got out of the post, haha! no, it was a really good thought provoking post, davene! kudos to you!

Pam said...

"Oh Holy Night" is one of the songs that moves me the most at Christmas time. I think it is always beautiful.
I love that you went to the Nursing Home. That is so sweet. All of your Christmas pictures. Your children are precious.

Merry Christmas to you family Davene,
and Many Blessings,
Much Love, Pam

Pam said...

I meant to post "I love all of your Christmas pictures above". Must have delighted part of it by accident.

Stacey said...

Oh my favorite song! I have been listening to this song by just about every single artist I can get my hands. I absolutely love this one by David Phelps. It is more like a worship anthem than a Christmas song. I think he is or was with the Gaithers during this performance. Here is the site for Youtube. This is the video. Grab a tissue!

Beth said...

Well said and powerful. Thanks Davene.

Julie said...

Sara Groves has a beautiful "O Holy Night" on her Christmas CD with a different tune that really helped me to focus in on the words.

I had a moment at the SVCC Christmas concert when we were singing "Away in a Manger" many times do we sing that? The third verse when we got to "close by me forever and love me, I pray" I couldn't get the words out... I just started to cry, because more than ever I just want love.

First Things First said...

We started using "O Holy Night" in our worship sets for December years ago. It is one of the most worshipful songs of all time...and when Dad and D add their harmonies to the chorus, it gives me chills. I love the words to the you sing verse two? It's my favorite!

Led by the light of faith serenely beaming,
With glowing hearts by His cradle we stand.
O'er the world a star is sweetly gleaming,
Now come the wisemen from out of the Orient land.
The King of kings lay thus lowly manger;
In all our trials born to be our friends.
He knows our need, our weakness is no stranger,
Behold your King! Before him lowly bend!
Behold your King! Before him lowly bend!

Davene said...

Verse two is a new one for me! Thanks for sharing that, and next year, I will sing it that way. :)

I can imagine how beautiful and moving it would be with your family doing it.