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23 days: Let heaven and earth rejoice

December 4, 2014

I apologize that you will get two countdown blogs today. My travels took me away from home and brought me back safe and secure, although tired and exhausted. Yesterday, I had the opportunity to travel with a dear friend to hear her daughter’s collegiate Christmas concert. My sneaky friend billed it as girlfriend’s day with shopping, music, and fun. What she failed to mention was she would be belatedly treating me for my birthday.

We had a delightful time, but it was the concert itself that stirred my heart. The sweet college freshman happens to be the most current recipient of the Reed Stevens Memorial Scholarship; so, of course, I had a vested interest in more than one way to be present. While I thought that I was going to admiringly listen, for a second time I was completely surprised. This was not simply a concert. Truly, it was an experience!

christmas at bethany

A conversation with another friend reminded me this week so few people actually understand the crescendo of anticipation the season of advent has for believers. The event we had the blessing to attend yesterday would epitomize that effect. My soul was stirred with joyful hope with every note. There were instrumental arrangements, small choirs, large concert choirs, stringed instrument bands, piping organ accompaniment, and hand bells. We, the audience, were asked to sing in worship at many varied points throughout the worship service. Yes! Worship, not a concert at all! We worshipped as we actively participated, both singing and listening, reciting and praying together, a communion of souls in peaceful harmony while remembering our Savior’s arrival.

Even my friend was taken aback. We were of one accord, envisioning the same thing. Well, this was the big leagues, and we were blown away by the talent and the professional production our senses delighted in. After the opening of various concert band pieces, the whole choir walked in and surrounded the chapel. They sang a few liturgical lines in Latin, and then the whole congregation was asked to join in another song.

My friend whispered in my ear, “I had no idea! No idea this was going to be this amazing!” With tears in my eyes, I replied, “I know. I keep closing my eyes and thinking this is what it will sound like in heaven!” So while we rejoiced with other earthly souls, my thoughts were on the choirs that my sweet children hear every day in heaven.

This advent, remember to rejoice in the little ways . . . because they truly matter!

Note: I wanted to see if there were any video clips that I could link to this blog. What I found instead was information regarding livestreaming of the concert.   The final performance will be this upcoming Sunday, December 7.   If you follow the link provided below, you find the information needed to watch from the comfort of your home. You will be blessed if you do choose to participate online and you will get to see “our” Rachel and other talented students from “out here”. The concert begins at 4 pm CST each day, but the instrumental preludes started about 45 minutes earlier. Be blessed and rejoice!

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