God on the Move: The Many Moods of Christmas

Last weekend I asked the musicians what it was like performing in our sanctuary. All but three of the 48 musicians are from the San Diego Symphony and they have played in every kind of venue and for every kind of audience. Many have played in our sanctuary for 15 or more years. Their response was unanimous: they love playing each year in our sanctuary because our people are so appreciative. They are inspired by the congregation.

I asked the choir the same question. This is not a professional choir. Every choir member (except for our soloist) is a volunteer who responds to the call to lead our worship services. They sing from the heart and believe what they sing. Dan is a great conductor and minister of music who chooses the texts, develops the program to communicate the message of Christmas. Their response was unanimous: they love singing with the orchestra. They are inspired by the amazing musicians.

I asked those who attended the services. There were 2500 people who attended our five concerts last weekend—250 more than last year! The added Monday night was the best attended of the five concerts, and it allowed us to accommodate virtually every request this year. (The worship service in Debin Hall added another 280 people, bringing our grand total for worship to 2800 people!) These are members of our church, visitors to our church and people who have travelled as far as Temecula and Long Beach. Family came to hear their children or grandchildren sing. Neighbors came with members who wanted them to hear the message of Christmas. Veterans came from the VA Hospital in Long Beach. Their response was unanimous. They love the beautiful music that comes from our choirs and orchestra. They are inspired by the music.

What we experienced last weekend was beautiful in a mysterious way. What we experienced was more than music played by good musicians, or a well planned program or an enthusiastic audience. What we experienced was God at work, choreographing gifts and hearts and prayers and his word into a masterpiece that causes us be in awe and wonder.

If what NT Wright says in Simply Christian is true, that one of the marks of the Kingdom of God is beauty, then I believe we experienced something of the Kingdom of God last weekend. We experienced a mystery, something we can’t quite explain humanly, but is of God. It’s a mystery that points to a greater mystery of Christmas: the God of the universe came to us as a baby born to a virgin who would live a perfect life, perform miracles, announce the Kingdom of God, die for our sins, be raised from the dead and become King of Kings and Lord of Lords, and enter into human hearts as Savior and Lord. We can’t fully explain it humanly, but we can experience it and be in awe of what God has done. Glory to God in the highest! God is on the move!


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