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A Time for Singing

By Greg Smalley
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Ecclesiastes says that there is a time and a season for everything.  December is the season for singing.

“God has prepared for Himself one great song of praise throughout eternity, and those who enter the community of God join in this song … It is the song of the heavenly fellowship.”

— Dietrich Bonhoeffer, Life Together

Ecclesiastes says that there is a time and a season for everything. December is the season for singing.

Open up the book of Luke and you’ll find that the Scripture passages narrating the Christmas story are filled with song. There’s Mary’s Magnificat (Luke 1:46-55). There’s Zechariah’s prophecy of the appearance of the “Dayspring from on high” (Luke 1:68-79). There’s Simeon’s accolade to the “light that brings revelation to the Gentiles” (Luke 2:29-32). And, of course, there’s the song of the heavenly host: “Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, goodwill toward men!” (Luke 2:14). From the moment of Christ’s birth right down to this present moment, Christmas has been celebrated in words and music.

Interesting thing about singing: though there will always be a place in the world for the talented soloist and the vocal virtuoso, it remains true that the most powerful and uplifting songs are the ones we sing together. Think of the National Anthem or your alma mater’s fight song. Think of the Civil Rights marchers descending on Washington with “We Shall Overcome” upon their lips. Think of “The Battle Hymn of the Republic,” “A Mighty Fortress,” and “The Hallelujah Chorus.” If you’ve ever been part of a choir, you know that there’s nothing quite like the power of hundreds of voices.

There’s a reason passionate lovers talk about “making beautiful music together.” Love is a song in more ways than one. Tonal harmony – different notes from up and down the scale melding in a single, pleasing column of sound – really is the perfect image of unity in diversity and diversity in unity. That’s why something indescribable happens when people get together and sing. It’s a heart-connection that can’t be known or expressed in any other way.

Thriving couples know what it means to “make beautiful music together.” But they also know that there’s nothing in the world to compare with the joy of blending their voices with those of the larger community in a manner similar to that of the voice from heaven which is “like the voice of many waters, and like the voice of loud thunder” (Revelation 14:2).

Have you and your spouse ever experienced that excitement? If not, there’s no better time than Christmastime to become part of that blessed multitude.

DATE NIGHT

Make it a double! Or a triple! This date’s focus on community affords you the perfect opportunity to phone up another couple—or couples—and enjoy a group date. Once you’ve got a group together, however, the regular Date Night principles apply:

Remember, always act like you’re trying to get a second date! Sometimes in marriage we forget that we need to pursue and “woo” our spouse. So dress up a bit. Be polite and open doors. Compliment one another. Be affectionate – hold hands, cuddle and steal kisses. Remember to protect your date night from conflict by cutting off any arguments and agreeing to talk about the issue at a later time. (In the context of a group date, this also means avoiding the temptation to talk about your childrearing or career woes with other couples. There’s certainly a time and place for that, but the focus of Date Night should always be fun.)

Step 1: Go someplace different for dinner.

Instead of visiting the same familiar locations and eating the same old food, pick somewhere new or try a different type of cuisine.

Step 2: “Strike the Harp and Join the Chorus!”

In case you’re not already aware of this, it’s hard to find a community in America where the month of December isn’t packed chock-full of opportunities to get together and sing with other people. If your church doesn’t have an activity of this description on the schedule, check your local newspaper for Yuletide-related events. Talk with the other couple(s) to determine a musical group activity for your Date Night. Here are some possibilities:

  • Many churches and community centers stage “Messiah Sing-alongs,” complete with full orchestra and chorus. They even provide printed copies of the score of Handel’s masterpiece for participants who know how to read music. Consider attending one of these concerts, and don’t hold back when it comes your turn to sing “And the Glory of the Lord shall be revealed!”
  • Organize your own Christmas caroling group and tour the neighborhood sharing songs of holiday joy. If it’s too cold outside, consider taking your music to a local retirement home or convalescent center. You can get together afterwards at someone’s house for wassail and dessert. This type of activity can be lots of fun.
  • Get your church or Sunday school class to put together an old-fashioned carol sing in a Fellowship Hall or at the home of one of the members. Organize a dessert potluck for afterwards.

Step 3: Relax and unwind. Ready for a few questions?

After you say your farewells to the other couple(s), find a quiet place to relax and emotionally connect through good conversation. Answer the following questions. Be sure to keep your responses positive, uplifting and encouraging.

  • What was your favorite part of the evening?
  • What is the one thing you learned tonight that you didn’t know about me before?
  • How can we continue to “sing in harmony” as a couple, as well as join the larger community “chorus” by investing in the lives of other couples and families in the days and weeks ahead?

Step 4: Home Sweet Home

Spend time planning your next date. Think about additional ways you can be part of the “music” of sharing life with others—and letting them share their lives with you. Then, it’s up to you what happens next. Have a great final adventure!

© 2014 Focus on the Family.

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