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The Song In The Air
Christmas Eve, 1996, 10:00 p.m.
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Can you hear the song in the air? The song the angels sang to the shepherds, filling the sky, the song that never ages or goes flat or loses its beauty and splendor. The song is still being sung. Can you hear it?

Itís a song of love. When you hold a baby, what do you do? Sing, donít you? Perhaps you donít sing a melody, but something like "kootchie koo". Donít you think the earliest musical art form was probably the lullaby, singing "kootchie koo" to babies. Babies themselves sing before they speak, like "Coo, coo". Our first cassette tape recorder was purchased just before we moved to California some 27 years ago. Our youngest son, Craig was two-years-old as we drove across the country. He is on the first tape we made with his recording of, "La, la, la..."

Can you hear the song in the air? Itís a song of love, warmth, cheer, good will. County supervisors in a small Iowa town have prohibited the playing of Christmas music in the courthouse because it is difficult to get convictions out of juries. Christmas carols make them soft! What a secret weapon! What if we could unleash Christmas music on Netanyahu, Arafat, Deng, Melosovich, the Ayotallah, Castro! The song in the air is a song of love.

The song in the air is a song of hope. The song cannot be squelched. The song cannot be stopped. It is irrepressible! They tried to shut the parents out. There was no room in the inn, but they couldnít stop the singing. Joseph and Mary found a stable. A church back east has difficulty finding a child willing to play the innkeeper who had no vacancy for the baby Jesus. One innkeeper softened the blow by telling Joseph, "I donít have any room, but come in anyway and have a drink!" Another year, the innkeeper just couldnít turn the pregnant couple away, so he told Joseph, "Sure, Iíve got room. Come on in." The surprised Joseph, who was also child, improvised on the spot. He looked around and said to Mary, "We donít want to stay in this dump. Letís find the stable." .

They tried to kill the baby, but the wise men went home a different route, bypassing and preventing King Herod from finding and executing the baby! They tried to stop the singing but the angels sang. It was a custom in those days for the town musicians to gather outside the house and sing when a baby was born. As Jesus was born far away from their hometown of Nazareth, there were no musicians to sing for Jesus outside the barn; so God sent the angels to sing.

The singing wonít be stopped. Last Sunday we went caroling and sang Christmas carols to some of our church family. We divided into four groups, and sang at 41 homes. If you recall the weather last Sunday afternoon, at 2:30 it was raining pitchforks. The torrential rain reminded me of Minnesota. But, a few minutes before 3:00, the rain stopped and the sun came out. It was as if the Lord held an umbrella over Merced while we sang carols. Would you believe that while we are singing at the last house, the rain started again. The umbrella held just long enough for us to sing the carols to some of Godís dear people.

One of the four caroling roups had quite an adventure. They noticed an animal struggling in a canal, and stopped to discover a new-born calf freezing in the cold water. Richard Perez, Cathie Boehm, and Matt Gipson bravely rescued the calf. They helped it back through the fence where its mother was anxiously waiting. The cow is probably still singing, Moooo! When was the last time you heard a cow singing Christmas carols in church!

Can you hear the song in the air? The song canít be stopped. Itís a song of hope, and hope will not be extinguished. Some of Americaís greatest music came out of slavery. The white man uprooted people from Africa, broke up families, sold off the children, governed their bodies, told them what to do, where to go, what to eat, who to work for. But, no slave owner could stop the singing! Born out of suffering, longing for a better world, hoping for a new life, yearning for freedom, the spirituals inspire us yet today. The song wonít be stifled.

Can you hear the song in the air? Itís a song of love and a song of hope. Open your heart this evening. Open wide the door of your life, and invite the Christ-child to come in. Tell him there is room in your life for Jesus. And, listen for the singing. Listen for the song in the air.

ã 1996 Douglas I. Norris