Therefore the Lord himself will give you a sign: The virgin will be with child and will give birth to a son, and will call him Immanuel. Isaiah 7:14 (NIV)
Last week, our church choir director invited anyone who wanted to sing the Halleluiah Chorus with them in Sunday worship service to come to choir practice. He promised that there would be no strings attached. It was a one time only offer, even though he admitted he hoped those there for a “one night stand” would decide to join them on a regular basis. I love Handel’s Messiah and sing along with my recording of the “Young Messiah” many times during the Christmas season. Yet, it has been thirty years since I sang with a choir. Still, I decided to take him up on the offer. I was surprised to find that I was the only one to come just for the evening. I felt very out of place. They all knew each other and were comfortable with the music and the group. I wasn’t even sure what part I should sing after all those years. Despite my fear, they made me feel at home, and I muddled through the music. At some points, I was just opening my mouth as my voice, that used to be first soprano, just could not reach those high notes anymore. I agonized all week about whether I should join them again on Sunday morning, but I did not want to let my new friends down. I worried about silly things, how would I find a robe and a note book for my music, but upon arriving on Sunday morning, a choir member was waiting to help me get settled. We warmed up and sounded a little weak. I kept telling myself, maybe that is the way they always sound in rehearsal. I prayed that God would be glorified despite the flat notes and the awkward rhythm, but I felt a little discouraged. Perhaps I was only hindering them and not a help at all. This was a bad idea. How in the world could our little choir do justice to Handel’s brilliant music? How would I? Then, before I knew it, it was time to go into the choir loft. The view from up there was very different from my usual comfortable seat in the balcony. Was everyone looking at me? Would I flub the song? Before we began, the director gave another invitation for others to join us. Before our very eyes, a miracle happened as people arose from all over the auditorium and made their way to the choir loft. Our size increased by at least half. The music began, and it sounded so much better! We sang the crescendo at the end and strongly proclaimed, “Hallelujah.” Many voices blended together in harmony. I know that for many people, Christmas is a lonely time. Even in the crowds or surrounded by family and friends, they feel isolated. Yet, that is exactly why Christ came to earth. Immanuel means God with us. Sing loudly. He is with you and will send others to stand beside you as well. You are never alone.