Summary: Music is one of God’s greatest gifts to His people. It has the power to touch our hearts, lift our spirit, bring us closer together and closer to God’s glorious presence. A Christmas sermon.

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Dear brothers and sisters in Christ, can you imagine what life would be like without music? Think about it for a moment: No song humming through your head after hearing it at church. No M-TV. No CDs. No bands, no concerts. Radio? Limited only to stations airing the news, weather and road conditions reports. A bell would be used only to get people’s attention or to announce “Come n’ get it!” supper’s ready. Otherwise, it would have no other purpose. Brides marching down the isle in silence. Our voices would not need a variety of tones - we would all talk in a monotonous way like a robot. Hand-clapping? Only as a sign of welcome or approval - or maybe to turn on a lamp, not to express joy in a song.

Can you imagine worship without music? I guess we could still read the Scripture lessons, read Psalms responsively. We could pray, and we would still have sermons and benedictions. But without music, it just wouldn’t be the same. Music tremendously enriches our worship; it tremendously enriches our lives.

God created us in His own image. That means, among other things, he has given us the ability to create. Composing and leading music and singing a song are expressions of this creative ability that we have been blessed with.

Music is a very important part of our lives because it can express every human situation - great joy and celebration, national pride (as we sing our national anthem), music can be an expression of love; it can provide comfort in times of sorrow, or encouragement in times of distress. If you enjoy parades, then you probably enjoy a good march or two. There are children’s songs, humorous songs; there is music that can bring you to ecstasy.

A highway patrolman once pulled over a lady who exceeded the speed limit. Her excuse? She was listening to Beethoven’s Ninth Symphony and got carried away. I think she was let go with only a warning.

Your spirit can soar with sounds of great symphonies, or you can pour out your soul in singing the blues. Styles vary but the appreciation of music is universal. Music is God’s own invention and one of the greatest gifts that our heavenly Father bestowed upon us.

And God, being a fan of diversity, gave us the ability to enjoy music in a variety of forms, produced by a variety of instruments - from philharmonic orchestras to bluegrass fiddlers, from a harp to bagpipes. And God loves it all.

I know the pride and inner joy of parents whose children play a musical piece well - whether as a solo or in a band. And our heavenly Father rejoices over our musical creativity as well.

We must, of course, distinguish between good music and bad music. For just as music can be an expression of praise to the glory of our Creator, it can also be an expression of the fallen human nature.

It has been said that God created the heavens and the earth, and everything in it. Then He created man, and soon thereafter God started singing the blues.

You know there is bad music out there. My cat produces better sounds when I accidentally step on his tail. There is vulgar music with words praising violence and the worst of the human nature. There is music out there designed to lead us away from God.

But that’s not part of God’s design. God intended music to lead us closer to Him and enjoy the positive, praiseworthy things in life.

The Word of God offers great practical advice in Philippians 4:8 - Brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable - if anything is excellent or praiseworthy, think about such things - or listen to such things, sing about such things - and the God of peace will be with you. Amen?

Let’s not fill our minds and our voices with garbage, but with lovely, admirable, excellent things that reward us with a healthy mind and healthy faith and a healthy attitude, for all these lead us closer to our heavenly Father.

And nowhere are such qualities more evident than in worship. Music in worship creates an atmosphere that celebrates the presence of the Holy Spirit and rewards us with peace and uplift that God invites us to experience.

Going through the pages of the Bible gives us an immediate indication that God’s people have learned this truth ages ago. Many, many songs have been raised to God in exaltation by people like Moses and Deborah who celebrated God’s mighty acts of deliverance with songs of victory. But perhaps the best known composer and singer in all the Bible was David, a shepherd boy who became a king.

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