Message from the Pastor

Rev. Sundar SamuelS

Dear Members and friends,

“Sing to the Lord a new song, for he has done marvelous things, his right hand and his holy arm have worked salvation for him. The Lord has made his salvation known and revealed his righteousness to the nations…” Psalm 98:1-9

I don’t know what part of the Christmas season is your favorite. For some, it is the gathering of family around the table. For others, it is the colorful displays of lights. For still others, particularly children, it is the giving and receiving of gifts. My favorite part is Christmas music!
We all have our favorite traditions at Christmas: the lights, the gathering of family, the giving and receiving of gifts, the smell of fresh Christmas cookies wafting through the air. I suspect that for many of us, high on our Christmas favorites would be the music of Christmas. Just like me some of you have started searching your radio dial to discover which station had started playing carols and other songs of the season. Or maybe you are looking forward to a concert of Messiah, or a choir cantata. Maybe you’re waiting to hear Bing Crosby’s White Christmas, or if you’d prefer, perhaps Elvis singing, “I’ll have a blue, blue Christmas without you.”
The Psalmist would have looked forward to the music of Christmas. He wrote, “Sing to the Lord a new song, for God has done marvelous things, his right hand and his holy arm have worked salvation for him….” Psalm 98 was one of Isaac Watts’ favorite psalms. In fact he paraphrased the Psalm and put it to music, “Joy to the world, the Lord is come, Let earth receive her king.”
There is something about Christmas and music. Even the secular culture recognizes that. Even the Grinch is transformed by the singing and music of townspeople of Whoville in the classic animated feature, How the Grinch Stole Christmas. Who can resist the joy and the music and the singing of Christmas?
Music speaks to our hearts as nothing else can do. That’s why so many of us invest in earphones and sound systems. We must have our music. A lawyer said to his preacher friend, “It’s not just the sermon I come for, preacher. It’s the music as well!
That may be true for some of you. Music speaks to our hearts as nothing else can. No wonder angels sang in the heavens when Christ was born. No wonder that when Mary discovered she was pregnant with the Messiah she broke out in song.
Music not only speaks to our hearts but it can change the world. We sometimes forget the power of music. Music has charms to soothe a savage breast,” wrote the poet William Congreve. And it’s true. If any of you are country music fans, there is a true story about Travis Tritt before he made it big in the music industry; he used to play in out-of-the-way beer joints. He writes that he has found a unique way of keeping the peace by singing “Silent Night” in those bars when drunken fans started fights over the smallest matters. It could be the middle of July he didn’t care. Sometimes, he would say, those drunken fans would even start crying, standing there watching me sweat and play Christmas carols.”
Music can do that. It can calm a crowd or it can voice the aspirations of people on the verge of desperation. More than anything else, music gives us hope. That’s why people always sing. Music gives us hope. It can remind us that God is with us. Most of us won’t miss the crowds and the hustle and bustle of Christmas. We can put away the lights and the tree and the candles and the holly and all the ornaments. But it is harder to put away “Silent Night, Holy Night,” and “O Come Immanuel” and “Away in a Manger.”
Music is one of God’s greatest gifts to us. To me it is one of the surest signs of God’s existence. I doubt the blind chance of evolution would have given us voices that blend together as soprano, alto, tenor and bass to make the most pleasing sounds on earth. I believe music is from God. The music of Christmas is undoubtedly from God. Music can do things that nothing else can do. Music can change the world. Music gives us hope. I hope in 2018 you will receive from above the melodious angelic song of Christmas and it will ring in your heart, giving you hope, peace and joy for the year to come!

Have a Blessed Christmas.

Pastor Sundar