Life without singing would be very dull. Imagine no children singing nursery rhymes, no gospel choirs, no Beatles, no opera, no Gregorian chanting, no raucous singing at football matches, no haunting melody at a funeral to release grief, no lover seranading his heart’s desire, no singing in the rain, or in the shower, or in the car, or in church. The world would be much more boring without song.

Singing is a very natural thing to do. When you’re happy and even when you’re sad. That’s why the songs of the black slaves – Negro Spirituals – were so important as they helped them express their pain and struggle and their longing for a new day.

Singing is often responsive. So United score a goal (although not as often as I’d like at the moment…!) and immediately a new song is struck up at the Stretford End. A child is happy and doesn’t even notice that she’s singing as she busies herself playing. A wedding is planned and a friend of the bride writes a special piece to be sung in the marriage service.

That’s why we’re singing our way through Advent at The Belfrey in 2013. We’re doing something very good and natural in response to what God has done in sending Jesus. So as we gather at our Sunday congregations over these four weeks we’re exploring the Christmas songs – the canticles. We’re grateful to G2 who’ve taken the lead on this and we’re calling it The Voice. These Christmas songs are deeply embedded in the biblical story and are beautiful creative responses to the work of the Spirit of God.

So last Sunday Tom McLeish helped our Morning Worship congregation look at Mary’s song, known in Latin as the Magnificat. The background and words to the song are found in Luke 1:39-56. Tom’s sermon was brilliant, not just in content (although that was excellent) but also in delivery. Everyone there could tell that he loved speaking on this passage! Despite having a cold, there was a massive smile beaming from Tom’s face and every word he spoke exuded joy and a real sense of wonder at this exquisite song of Mary. It really helped us appreciate – and sing! – this song of Mary. I thanked Tom afterwards and he said that someone had come up to him and said that whatever he was on that morning, they wanted some! So I commend his message to you, which you can hear by clicking here. You won’t be disappointed.

In the coming weeks we’ll be singing Zechariah’s song (Luke 1:57-80 – the Benedictus), Simeon’s song (Luke 2:22-35 – the Nunc Dimittis) and the Angel’s song (Luke 2:25-35 – the Gloria). I’m looking forward to us singing our way through Advent! But of course we can sing any time, any place, any where. On our own or with others. So I’m going to try to sing more this Christmas season – not just on Sundays, but every day. Carols. Songs. All sorts of music.

If God is on the move and Jesus is coming, that’s a fantastic reason to sing! Why not join me in singing our way through Advent?

When was the last time you sung? Can you encourage yourself (and others) to sing today?