Hymns and Carols in Jacksonville Presbyterian ChruchPastor James Moore once told a story about a man who had suffered a severe stoke. This stoke affected his legs, one arm and most of his speech. He was frustrated by his inability to communicate with others – especially his wife.

One day his pastor came by to see him. He found it difficult to communicate with the man – so he spent most of his time talking with his wife.

As the pastor was getting ready to leave, he remembered reading that some stroke victims can sing, even though they can’t talk. The pastor began singing the hymn, “Silent night.” It seemed like a miracle, but the man who suffered the stroke also began singing. There was no stuttering, no breakdown in forming words. He just sang: “Round yon virgin mother and child. Holy infant, so tender and mild.” As the man reached for his pastor’s hand to hold, his wife joined in the singing, “Sleep in heavenly peace, sleep in heavenly peace.” “We finished,” the pastor said. The man smiled, and “God was there.”

I am convinced that for many of us, there are hymns and prayers that are lodged deep in our souls. Even when we are not aware of them, they are there. May they ever be a source of strength and hope.

Let us pray: We thank you for your faithfulness to us, O God. And we thank you for songs and words that have touched us deeply over the years; for the way that you have shaped us through them. As we sing and as we pray this Christmas season, draw us closer to you; through Jesus Christ. Amen.