Focusing On Others
Speaking to yourselves in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing and making melody in your heart to the Lord.
— Ephesians 5:19
Somehow in the midst of the busy holiday schedule, the youth group I attended as a teenager managed to find time to sing Christmas carols in our church’s local neighborhood. We’d bundle up to stay warm, and then we would walk from house to house to sing to people who stood on their porches to listen.
I’m not sure it’s still customary as it once was many years ago for people to walk from house to house to sing Christmas carols, but it remains a precious memory in my life from my younger years. We’d sing with all our hearts, trying to bring joy to people during the Christmas season. And of course, we saw it as a method of evangelism because we were singing songs about the birth of Jesus Christ. Afterward we’d invite people to come to church for the Christmas service.
Several years ago, Denise’s mother was living in an assisted-living complex and drawing near the end of her life. It was the Christmas season, and she was feeling very lonely. One night an entire family knocked on her door and asked if they could come into her little living room to sing Christmas carols to her. Her eyes lit up, she sat upright in her recliner, and joyfully welcomed them in. As the carolers sang, she joined in with them, singing with all the might she could muster. When the carolers finished, they hugged and prayed for her. Denise’s mother talked about that event for several weeks afterward because it had brought such intense joy into her solitary life.
Paul talks about the importance of songs and hymns in Ephesians 5:19, and although it is not specifically a Christmas verse, it certainly could apply to the Christmas holidays. It reads, “Speaking to yourselves in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing and making melody in your heart to the Lord.” The word “psalms” is the Greek word psalmos, and it refers to singing songs of praise. It depicts singing psalms with a stringed instrument, such as a guitar or something similar. The word “hymns” is humnos, and it refers to sacred compositions whose primary goal is to give glory and honor to God.
There’s just something about singing songs that glorify the Lord that releases joy and takes people to a higher level. Those who are depressed or lonely are uplifted when they hear and sing these kinds of songs.
So today I want to make a holiday suggestion to you: Why not put together a Christmas carol group this year and revive this old-time tradition? You need not walk from home to home. You could choose specific homes where difficulty and sadness prevailed for a time. Just knock on the door or ring the doorbell, and when those who live there answer the door, pour out your heart as you sing about Jesus to them. It may be just what they need to lift them up from the sadness and depression they are feeling. And you might even ask them to join you as you make your way to the next house!
What an easy and thoughtful way to make a big difference in someone’s life this Christmas season!
MY PRAYER FOR TODAY
Father, I appreciate what I’ve read today about ministering in music and Christmas carols at this time of the year. Help me not to focus on my own needs and problems but to take a day or two to focus on people who are living lonely and solitary. If possible, help me gather a group of people who will join with me to creatively bring the praise and glory of God to people who need a lift!
I pray this in Jesus’ name!
MY CONFESSION FOR TODAY
I confess that I have a voice to glorify the Lord and that this holiday season, I am going to use it to bring emotional encouragement and spiritual exhortation to people who need a lift from the cares of life. I may not be the best singer, but I can sing with others. I choose to obey Ephesians 5:19 and speak and sing to one another in psalms, hymns, and spiritual songs this Christmas season. God will join me with a group of praisers with like-minded hearts, and together we’ll become a “musical troupe” to bring joy to people who need encouragement!
I declare this by faith in Jesus’ name!
QUESTIONS FOR YOU TO CONSIDER
- How long has it been since you went Christmas caroling? What did it do for your own soul to know that you went out of the way to be a blessing to someone in this way?
- How long has it been since someone came to your door to sing Christmas carols to you or to your family? How would it affect you?
- Who do you know that is lonely, depressed, feeling solitary, and could use some special encouragement at this time of the year? Why not put together a group of carolers, wrap up and stay warm, and go have fun singing carols to that person?