Carols Monday Night Rehearsal

FOCUS – seemed to be the key reminder at the end of rehearsal last night.  Monday night Carols’ rehearsals are still about details (as hard as you try, everything does not get worked out technically on Sunday night).  And there are so many aspects of the program that the choir-at-large has not seen so folks eyes and minds are wandering and watching rather than being totally tuned in to the director. Understandable. Last night, in effect, we (the choir) were the audience.

As I watched the scenes during “Breath of Heaven”, it occurred to me that FOCUS is not something we really have a clue about. While there are events in our lives that get our direct and undivided attention, we are seldom so tuned in to something that we cannot easily become distracted from the main point of the discussion. In fact, today, we are so distracted by overloaded schedules, communications devices that make Dick Tracy’s “wrist radio” so old school, and general stuff in our lives, we simply seldom attempt to focus.

Somehow I doubt that when Gabriel appeared to Mary and then to Joseph to explain to them how God had chosen them for this once in forever event and the responsibility that went along with it, that they were distracted during the conversations.

Here is the Mary’s story in Luke 1:

In the sixth month of Elizabeth’s pregnancy, God sent the angel Gabriel to Nazareth, a town in Galilee, to a virgin pledged to be married to a man named Joseph, a descendant of David. The virgin’s name was Mary. The angel went to her and said, “Greetings, you who are highly favored! The Lord is with you.” Mary was greatly troubled at his words and wondered what kind of greeting this might be. But the angel said to her, “Do not be afraid, Mary; you have found favor with God.  You will conceive and give birth to a son, and you are to call him Jesus.  He will be great and will be called the Son of the Most High. The Lord God will give him the throne of his father David, and he will reign over Jacob’s descendants forever; his kingdom will never end.” “How will this be,” Mary asked the angel, “since I am a virgin?” The angel answered, “The Holy Spirit will come on you, and the power of the Most High will overshadow you. So the holy one to be born will be called the Son of God. Even Elizabeth your relative is going to have a child in her old age, and she who was said to be unable to conceive is in her sixth month. For no word from God will ever fail.” “I am the Lord’s servant,” Mary answered. “May your word to me be fulfilled.” Then the angel left her.

I cannot remotely imagine that conversation or Mary’s bewilderment. I can, imagine, she was fully focused on the charge the angel gave her! She was to be the mother of the Messiah. Prophecy would be fulfilled through her. God’s word would never fail. Wow.

As would be expected, Joseph hears his fiance is expecting and he, with every right in the law and customs of the day, could have put her away, but God intervened. We find that in Matthew 1:20:  But after he had considered this, an angel of the Lord appeared to him in a dream and said, “Joseph son of David, do not be afraid to take Mary home as your wife, because what is conceived in her is from the Holy Spirit.

This was Joseph’s “a-ha” moment. God is in control. He has chosen me – chosen us (Mary and Joseph) to carry out His plan. I can only imagine that as the Joseph pondered this, the enormity of the assignment overwhelmed him.  It was enough to think about getting married, starting a family, keeping them fed and clothed. Added to that – overwhelming that – was this responsibility for a time of protecting and nurturing the mother of His Lord and the Baby himself. Talk about focus!

As we move through Carols week, it will become less about the details and more about sharing the story – boldly, clearly, focused. We believe. While the angel has not appeared to us as he did to Mary and Joseph, God lives in our hearts and He is pushing us to focus in order that others will know Him too. FOCUS – our charge for this week; literally our charge for each minute on earth.

God with us. Emmanuel. I Believe.