Monday, December 5, 2011

Shout the Good News! (formerly: Priorities, procrastination. FOCUS!!!! on what?)

It's blog deadline, but I don't really have a topic or time. I need/want to be practicing the Christmas cantata. So, maybe I'll combine the two. Ah! Song 1, "Shout the Good News!" Now I'm revved up!

This year's cantata, "Shout the Good News!" has seven songs, no solos. The arrangements are beautiful and include some variations on carols, but as usual, I can tell I'll be much more comfortable if I take time in addition to choir rehearsal to make sure I know my part. As of last Wednesday, I was not able to sing with much confidence, often stumbling over words or notes. I can tell this run-through has helped. Maybe this week I'll be ready! And by the time we sing it for worship on Dec. 18, it will be pure joy!

I'm also working on "Gesu Bambino" for early service this Sunday. I know this by heart, but I still take time to practice in hopes that the sound that comes forth will be the best I can do for God. Singing a Christmas solo is a highlight of the season for me, and this is one of my favorites. When Christmas falls on Sunday, there's one less Sunday for a traditional hymn- and special music-filled worship service. I'm glad to have the opportunity to sing at early service. It's been a while since I've been able to schedule it.

As far as the blog headline, I put those original words (Priorities, procrastination, FOCUS!!! on what?) up there as I was trying to think of something to write. I am so aware of not being focused, and that sure makes it easy to procrastinate. For those few moments just now, it was very worthwhile to focus on the message of Christmas through the songs of the cantata. Beyond that, I'm still struggling.

Since Thanksgiving, I've found myself finding excuses not to do more than I've actually said yes to. Why didn't I go to the Hanging of the Greens service? How many parties have I missed? That's a recipe for regret that I hope not to have to taste. I continue to pray to know and do God's will. Help me not find an excuse to skip caroling or other opportunities to be involved in moments of the season that combine joy, fellowship and outreach to those in need of even something as simple as a visit. Even as I pray, right this minute, I don't feel confident I'll make what seems to me to be the best choice. Somehow, I think I have to be OK with that, too. I know the alternative -- beating myself up for the way I am -- isn't very productive.

Maybe it's OK for me to "Shout the Good News!" of God's great gift of salvation through His son Jesus, even as I am so aware of my unworthiness to receive that gift. Because, as I understand it, on my own, yes, I am unworthy. But the very gift makes me worthy if only I will receive it. And so I will receive it and I will share it -- and I will trust God to shape my life to His glory.

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