The Song of the Angels
David Taylor came home from school sad and discouraged one day in early November. With tears rolling down his freckled cheeks, he told his mother that his teacher told him that he couldn’t sing in the Christmas program.
“She said that I am awful and that I sing too loud,” David explained between sobs.
David’s father was sitting in the living room reading the afternoon’s paper and overheard his son’s heartbreak. Mr. Taylor was indignant and furious. How could any teacher do this to any child?
Mr. Taylor decided to help his son learn how to sing and after dinner that night, he took David into the living room and had him stand beside the family piano. Mr. Taylor began to play the familiar melody of “It Came Upon a Midnight Clear”. As David opened his mouth, a cat-like screech came out.
“David, part of singing is listening. Listen ... then sing,” instructed the patient father. “It came upon a midnight clear, that glorious song of old.”
David’s second attempt was worse than his first! But when the father was tempted to give up, he thought of the unfeeling teacher and realized, “If a father doesn’t do this, who will?”
And so they continued, a patient father and his little boy, night after November night. “… From angels bending near the earth to touch their harps of gold.”
The days of November faded into December, while Mr. Taylor and David spent every evening at the piano going over and over and over the melody to the song. “Peace on the earth good will to men from heaven’s all gracious King. ”
And finally, the night before David was scheduled to sing before his teacher, the entire Taylor family gathered around the piano and declared, “The world in solemn stillness lay, to hear the angels sing.” There was a satisfied silence at the end of the final stanza as the family grinned at each other. David had learned! David could sing!
When the day came that David sang for his teacher, she said that he could be in the program! David was front and center in the third-grade Christmas concert. He was angelic and on pitch as the song ended with the glorious thought,
“For lo, the days are hastening on, by prophet seen of old,
When with the ever circling years shall come the time foretold;
When peace shall over all the earth, its ancient splendors fling,
And the whole world send back the song which now the angels sing!”
Learning to sing had somehow changed the little boy, David Taylor. While other children were making Christmas lists for Santa and stealing frosted cookies from the jar, David was by the piano, plunking out simple Christmas melodies. When his siblings were out sledding and skating, David was singing at the piano, “Hark! The herald angels sing, ‘Glory to the newborn King!” Once the song of Christmas had nestled in David’s heart and voice, it had captured every ounce of his being.
On Christmas Eve, after the family had hung their stockings with care and left out the requisite cookies for the jolly old man of myth, Mr. Taylor looked out the window and saw his pajama-clad boy in the front yard looking toward the sky.
The father quietly walked out the front door and put his arms around David without saying a word. The son leaned into his father’s chest and said, “The world is lying still, Dad. Just like the song says.”
“Do you hear them, Dad? Do you hear the angel’s singing? I hear them ... do you, Dad?”
The father thought that he was teaching a little boy to sing a sweet song at Christmas time but what had really happened was that the little boy had taught them both to listen ... to listen for the angel’s song.
Bible Reading: (click on Bible verse to open in reader)
Let There Be Joy In Me:
What is your favorite childhood Christmas memory? Perhaps you could write it out and share it with your family this Christmas.
Go to a school or a church Christmas concert this year and enjoy the faces of the children.
If this devotional has been an encouragement to you, would you consider giving a year-end gift to Just Joy! Ministries this Christmas season?