Adore Him?
Off the Wall, December 18,

A choir director recently told me that a member of his parish had requested a special hymn to be sung at a relative’s funeral. That is nothing rare in as much as each family through the ages was brought up with family favorites from the times its members were young up unto the present time.

He explained that the hymn chosen was “Joyful, Joyful, We Adore You,” part of Beethoven’s “Hymn to Joy.” Smiling, he stated, “I asked the man if he knew the words and he said, “No, I just love the music.”

Nothing is unusual about that statement. It really doesn’t matter what song we listen to, whether on the radio, from one of our compact discs or at a church or synagogue, we all have our favorite melodies that we tend to hum.

Christmas carols are no different. How many of us have to refer to the music to make sure we are singing the right words to the appropriate notes? I still do. Should I make up an excuse, such as “I don’t have a photographic memory?” That may play into it, I’m sure, but I tend to believe we don’t remember a lot of what we sing because we fail to do so repetitively.

But, that’s not what I’m writing this column about today.

I was thinking more along the lines of that hymn to which I referred when I began, the one to which the relative requested. You know, even though it is not included in the collection of Christmas carols, what a wonderful way to speak of our Lord to celebrate His birthday.

The first verse states, “Joyful, joyful, we adore you, God of glory, Lord of love; Hearts unfolding like flowers before you, Opening to the sun above. Melt the clouds of sin and sadness; Drive the dark of doubt away; Giver of immortal gladness, Fill us with the light of day!”

First of all, how can we not adore Lord Jesus Christ, second Person of the Trinity whose birth we celebrate on December 25? Everything He stands for deserve all we can give him –adoration, admiration, and appreciation, for starters.

God sent Him into our messed up world to bring His Father’s love to all who calls upon His Name, both silently and vocally, in one’s prayer closet or in the midst of worshipping within the Church. He ate among sinners, told of how one’s salvation could be gained through repentance, and eternal life granted by the faith of a mustard seed.

How can we not adore Him?

If one can have that faith the size of a mustard seed that is said to move mountains, then how much more can be accomplished by the building our a relationship between Our Lord Jesus Christ and ourselves, now answer me that question?
Before we knew Him, He knew us. Christ was cognizant of the fact that He knew how we would think, why we thought what we did and how we think now. Some of what exists is doubt, that same mystery whether He will come across as we so hope. Yet, in that song we sing like we pray, “Drive the dark of doubt away.”

It is so beautiful, isn’t it? God sent His only begotten Son into this world for us, essentially, to benefit from His goodness.

Every verse of this hymn magnifies the goodness of Our Lord. Let’s all rejoice just a tad bit more.

It is true, some hymns are sung for certain seasons of the year. But, if we pick out stanzas of many of them, they can apply to any of our 365 days.

Verse three states, “Always giving and forgiving, ever blessing, ever blest, Well-spring of the joy of living, Ocean depth of happy rest! Loving Father, Christ our brother, Let your light upon us shine; Teach us how to love each other, Lift us to the joy divine.”

There is definite joy not only in knowing Jesus, but in abiding in God’s Word, recognizing that the Trinity has our best interests in mind, realizing when we pass, we may be raised to live eternally in heaven with all whom went before us.

Here’s the question. Will each resident of our communities be attending churches of their persuasions merely because one feels he has to fulfill his yearly obligation, or will he be present because of one’s willingness to adore the Christ child, born to save us from our sins?

- Paul J. Volkmann
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