Listen to this devotional:
Listen while you read: "God Rest You Merry Gentlemen"1 (Lyrics)
Do you live in or near a city where you can enjoy the annual holiday tradition, Tuba Christmas? Tuba Christmas was conceived in 1974 by a tuba player as a tribute to his teacher and mentor. The very first Tuba Christmas was held at the ice-skating rink at New York City's Rockefeller Center, and it was not an easy task to convince Rockefeller Center to let hundreds of tubas play on the ice rink! This holiday tradition, featuring varied members of the tuba family, has since spread to over 200 cities around the world.
My own city of Portland, Oregon, USA, has embraced this annual holiday event. On this chilly Saturday afternoon, more than 200 tuba players ranging in age from 8 to 80 are expected to perform in the concert at our downtown's Pioneer Courthouse Square. Last December, one of these players — nearly obscured by her huge horn — was my petite 17-year-old granddaughter, Mia. It was her first year to participate, but she is eagerly anticipating this year's Christmas concert today.
Last year, as I stood shivering in the cold, listening to these hardy, exuberant musicians, it struck me that this was their moment to shine. Most concert bands have only one or two tuba players — in contrast to flocks of flutes, tons of trumpets, scads of saxophones, and crowds of clarinets! The tuba is often pushed to the very back of the stage, and though it truly helps to support the whole orchestra, it is rarely featured and is definitely not the star of the show.
This means that everything is flipped on its head when an entire performance is built exclusively on the tuba family. What a thrill it must be for these players who may be toiling away in near anonymity in their own band to suddenly be surrounded by so many others just like them!
Many of us may feel quite alone as the only believer in our own family or as one of only a handful of the faithful in our neighbourhood or community. A major purpose of our churches is to provide a place where believers can meet together to support and encourage each other. It can be such an encouragement to join with hundreds or thousands of other believers at large Christian events. I will never forget the thrill and encouragement of attending a Billy Graham Crusade, seeing thousands of others around me also praising God and listening to His Word.
God Himself encouraged the weary, despondent prophet Elijah with the comforting word that he was not alone in his love and service for the Almighty:
1 Kings 19:18 – Yet I reserve seven thousand in Israel — all whose knees have not bowed down to Baal and all whose mouths have not kissed him. (NIV)
We can also take hope and courage in knowing that we are not the only ones in our world who love and serve our Saviour.
Prayer: Dear Father in heaven, please give us strength and courage in knowing that You honour and bless those who faithfully trust in You. Remind us that we are not alone in our love for You. In Jesus' name, we pray. Amen.