There’s nothing like a Christmas song on the radio to get me in the mood for the holidays. As soon as the season kicks in, I begin listening to a playlist of my favorite Christmas songs. I love all styles of Christmas music from Charlie Brown’s Christmas to the Brooklyn Tabernacle Choir, and all the Christmas hymns we sing at church. I wait with anticipation each year for our very own LifeWay Christmas program. Mike Harland never disappoints! Christmas and music simply go together.
There was music during that first Christmas, too. The angels sang a praise chorus: “Glory to God in the highest heaven, and peace on earth to people He favors” (Luke 2:14). And Mary had a praise song of her own: “My soul proclaims the greatness of The Lord, and my spirit has rejoiced in God my Savior” (Luke 1:46–55).
In the middle of the amazing story of Christ’s miraculous birth, God provides a special gift to Mary. This young virgin girl is visited by the angel Gabriel, who tells her not to be afraid for she has found favor with God and will give birth to a son—Jesus, the “Son of the Most High” (Luke 1:30–38). Immediately after the encounter with Gabriel, Scripture tells us Mary hurried to Elizabeth’s house. I imagine it was a quick rush. Who would believe this? What does this mean? Who do I tell? Scripture doesn’t tell us all the questions Mary had but I’m sure she had a few.
Elizabeth, an older woman of deep faith, was pregnant with a miracle baby, too. Scripture says Mary stayed with her about three months before returning home. Three months to talk about God, babies, pregnancy, and I’m sure they talked about Joseph and Zechariah! A young girl needed an older woman of strong faith to support and guide her.
We don’t know all that happened in those three months together, but Scripture does give us insight into how the first day started that I believe set the tone for the months ahead. Elizabeth met Mary with a “loud cry,” saying, “You are the most blessed of women, and your child will be blessed!” (Luke 1:42). Elizabeth gave a powerful blessing to Mary and this blessing caused Mary to give praise. Mary’s song of praise rang out that first Christmas and prepared her heart for the birth of Christ.
This Christmas, be ready to give the gift of a song. The pain of loss seems a little harder during the holidays. Loneliness is magnified. Depression is greater. Ask God to open your eyes to see and be ready to give a blessing wrapped in strong faith that makes the heart sing.
“For a child will be born for us, a son will be given to us, and the government will be on His shoulders. He will be named Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Eternal Father, Prince of Peace.” (Isa. 9:6)
*This article originally appeared in the Life Lines magazine.