The Gift of Music

One of my favorite parts of the Christmas season is Christmas music. Whether it’s one of the Mannheim Steamroller CDs playing in my mom’s kitchen, or a candlelit concert at the cathedral, my heart rejoices at the magic of the seasonal songs. And as a performer, there is no better treat than to participate in a Christmas concert.

Last night was the dress rehearsal for the Christmas program at my church. It is a lovely program with beautiful music, an orchestra, and of course, adorable kids. I am blessed to be singing “O Holy Night” to start off the show, and then I get to join the orchestra. I rarely play my violin. I laugh that it’s just my Christmas instrument. But playing with people is such a treat, even if the occasion for it is rare now that I am no longer in school.

Photo by David Beale on Unsplash

Today, as I rehearsed “O Holy Night” with the orchestra playing behind me, I had to distract myself from the urge to cry. Letting my voice ring out on the high notes as the orchestra swelled behind me reminded me of my time in college, where making music ten times this caliber was commonplace. There is a little ache on my heart when I think of it even now. A mixture of longing for what was and grief that it is over.

Music used to be so central to my life. It still is, but not in the ways I used to believe it would be. I used to think I’d make a career of it. That I’d go to graduate school, then land a gig at an opera house, make ends meet by singing and traveling and doing this thing I excelled at. God had other plans. I had a generous offer at the school of my dreams, but He called me away. I met my husband a few years later and now I have the family of my dreams. He knew what I needed. He knew that my desire for music and my desire for a family were at odds with each other. He asked me to trust Him, and so I chose to leave the career behind.

I’ll never regret it, because what I have now is suited to me in every possible way. I would have been at war with myself constantly in order to make a living as a performer. And God has given me ways to continue using my skills. I teach voice lessons and write lullabies for my son, and am on the worship team at church. And every Christmas, I get to make beautiful music for my favorite time of year with my church family.

When I was singing “O Holy Night” up on that stage last night, I remembered why I loved performing in the first place. When I let my voice ring out, the music flowed like pure joy from my body—it seemed to create the joy. I was reminded of what a gift from God music is, and He softened up that achy part of my heart where music lives. He reminded me that most important of all, the gift of music’s purpose is to glorify Him, and draw me closer to Him. It might seem small, but I haven’t felt that way while singing in a while. I could have done countless things with my talent for singing—but the most important question has always been “what will God do with my talent?” Last night, He used it to remind me of His goodness, to give me a thrill of hope in my weary little world.


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