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I Heard the Bells, Part 2

The Spirits Prodding

Well, needless to say, as she spoke, I felt the Spirit tugging at my heart, saying THIS is the night for that song.

I don't make it a habit to take it upon myself to change programs at our church. Even at our "free-in-the-Spirit" Loving Grace events, I've learned that pure spontaneity is not always the order for the day.... And things tend to be even more structured at church. I try to be mindful of their time limitations, what they're trying to get across with their programs, etc. Yet, in my gut, I KNEW that this was the time.

The musical portion of the program progressed with another woman's solo, and some caroling as a group. Finally, it was time for me to sing "Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas".

At that point, I expressed some of what I believed God was speaking to my heart ... that the song didn't seem to be the "right" one for the moment, and I was feeling led to sing a different song. Maybe the scheduled song could come later on, if possible.

So after I got the "go ahead" nod from the lady in charge, I began singing the words penned by Longfellow so many years ago:

"I heard the bells on Christmas day, their old familiar carols play; and wild and sweet the words repeat of peace on earth, good will to men. I thought as now this day had come, the belfries of all Christendom had rung so long the unbroken song of peace on earth, good will to men.

And in despair I bowed my head; 'There is no peace on earth,' I said, 'For hate is strong and mocks the song of peace on earth, good will to men.' Then pealed the bells more loud and deep: 'God is not dead, nor doth He sleep; the wrong shall fail, the right prevail with peace on earth, good will to men.' "

After that song was sung, I finally felt total peace about singing "Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas", and was again given the "nod" to go ahead....

Well, people were extremely blessed and touched by the Spirit; and commented on that "moment" often over the coming weeks. At first it didn't fully hit me, just how miraculous that moment had been. Only the next morning did I finally begin to put it all together and realize all that had transpired.


Everyday Miricles

First of all, I wouldn't have even been working on that song if I hadn't been preparing it for the LGM event two days later. I would have heard her mention the song, but wouldn't have felt comfortable playing it without having practiced it beforehand. (By the way, I did sing it at the LGM event, and it was merely "OK" in my book. It was then CLEARLY obvious to me that the Lord had put a special anointing on the singing of the song on THAT night.)

Second, if I had told the lady in charge of the program that I would rather sing "I Heard the Bells"; I would have assumed that she had TOLD the speaker that, and that's why she chose to include the carol in her talk.

Third, the woman and I had never met before, lived in two different states, and had no clue what part the other was to play in the program. The gentle miracle was put together so graciously and carefully, and any little miscalculation in any of those variables would have negated the "miracle" of it all.

Afterward, my friend told me how very touched Lucinda had been by the whole thing as well...

That year, that same friend gave me one of Lucinda's books as a Christmas present (and another friend gave me one of her other books). She (the author) had signed both books, expressing how blessed she had been by the song.


Divine "Coincidence"

As I picked up one of Lucinda Secrest McDowell's books (which is a Christmas compilation), the morning on which I originally was moved to write this all down, I read the introduction; and this is how it begins:

"What makes Christmas special? When you reflect upon that question, chances are your mind naturally returns to the Christmases of your childhood. For me, those celebrations of Jesus' birth took place in the town of Thomasville, Georgia, where my extended family still lives today."

THOMASVILLE, GEORGIA?! Apparently Thomasville is a fairly obscure little town in Georgia ... and the only reason I ever heard of it was because I WAS BORN THERE! Wow, what a "coincidence".


The Gleam in His Eye

Somehow, even that little fact causes me to look heavenward and see a little "gleam" in His eye. Yes, it may look like coincidences happen every day, even miracles that seem too casual to be true. But still, I believe "God is not dead, nor doth He sleep; The wrong shall fail, the right prevail with peace on earth, good will to men."

Yes, babies do mean hope.... Even those born in Thomasville, as insignificant as they may seem.... Even little ones born this very day. Who knows what miracles He has planned for our future.

Let's keep our eyes open, shall we?.

And by the way, do have yourselves a merry little Christmas, OK?


November 27, 2004

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