The great classical cellist Pablo Casals, in his life story entitled Joys and Sorrows, tells readers his first memory of attending worship on Christmas Eve when he was five-years-old. He walked to the church in a small village in Spain, hand-in-hand with his father, who was the church’s organist.
He said that as he walked, he shivered. The shivering was not, however, so much because the night was cold, though it was quite cold. Pablo was shivering because the atmosphere that evening was so electric and so mysterious.
“I felt,” Pablo said, “that something wonderful was about to happen. High overhead, the heavens were full of stars, and as we walked in silence I held tightly to my father’s hand… In the dark, narrow streets, there were moving figures, shadowy and spectral and silent, too, moving into the church, quickly and silently… My father played the organ, and when I sang, it was really my heart that was singing, and I poured out everything that was in me.”
“It was really my heart that was singing.” I think Mary could identify with that. When we sing praises to God we sing from our hearts. We sing with joy. Yes, Pablo Casals was only a small child. Yes, Mary was still a young girl. But, it seems to me that they have something to teach us about singing from our hearts and singing with joy. When we become adults, all too often, we tend to lose our joy. We don’t sing with joyful hearts. We need to relearn. We need to sing a song of joy.