The Power Of Music

Dear Lewis,

Christmas is my favorite time of year. I hate the cold weather. Traveling during Christmas is a nightmare. Pumpkin and peppermint flavored beer, cocktails, coffee drinks and deserts are the worst.

It’s not the parties or the month of excused overeating I love. It’s not that I can watch It’s A Wonderful Life as many times as I want without anyone judging me. And, no, my favorite thing about this time of year isn’t all the Amazon gift cards I get from friends and family.

My favorite part of the Christmas season is the reminder of the power of music.

Lewis, when you grow up I hope you love music. I don’t mean I want you to listen to the Rolling Stones or learn to play The Ramones’ entire catalogue or study poets like Bob Dylan and Paul Westerberg. I mean I hope you truly, honestly, deeply, madly love and understand the power of music.

A good song has the same effect on a person as the spells in great fairytales. Some songs have the power to make you infinitely happy when, seconds before the song started, you were sad. Certain songs have the power to remove you from your body, to transport you to another time and place. Music can put you in a trance, lull you to sleep, or take over your body leaving you no choice but to dance. A song – the combination of clashing cymbals, plucked strings, stale breathe moved through brass, the words of someone who has never met you – can touch you so deeply that you are uncontrollably and unpredictably moved to tears, silence or outburst of joy.

Lewis, the power of music is so great that it can create worlds! Aslan created Narnia with a song. Tolkien traces Middle Earth back to when the Ainur made a great Music before Ilúvatar, and out of this Music the World was born. Some scientists explain the creation of our universe using what they call String Theory, which says (crudely) the world was made and is made up of tiny vibrating strings.

Vibrating stings? That sounds an awful lot like music to me.

If music is what made the world then it makes sense that music is what the world would use to welcome its Maker.

That’s what the Bible tells us. What’s more, it’s Luke, a doctor, a scientist, not someone trained in the liberal arts, that has the most to say about this. You can add that to the list of things that don’t prove anything, but are too uncharacteristic of a writer and their style not to capture my attention.

Lewis, when Mary, Jesus’ mother, fully understood Who it was she was bringing into the world she welcomed God’s will with a song (Luke 1:46-55). When the angel was given the task of announcing Christ’s birth to the shepherds he brought along a host of friends, a choir, who, the moment the angel finished talking, burst into song (Luke 2:13-14). Even Simeon, in the solemnity of the Temple courts, upon seeing Jesus, the Messiah, God incarnate, Maker of heaven and earth, took the child into his arms and could do nothing less than sing (Luke 2:28-32).

There’s a part of me that believes, with all my heart, that John the Baptist, while still in his mother’s belly, heard the music too, and that’s why he leaped – danced – when he heard Jesus was coming.

Lewis, I tell you all of this because I want you to see that God loves, loves, loves music. Music is so powerful that God accepts songs as gifts. Isn’t that mind blowing?

God, who created the universe out of Himself, considers our songs, words and melodies created out of ourselves, worthy of listening to.

From the beginning of time until now, music has been how God has accepted the praise and worship of His people; how He’s listened to their complaints and accusations; how He has spoken through His people. In the Bible, God’s biography, he included an entire book of songs!

It’s said that music is universal. True, but apparently music transcends the universe, touching the heart of the One who created it.

How beautiful, how humbling, to know that God has allowed us to wield such incredible power. Make no mistake, Lewis: there is power in music. Music has started revolutions that have changed the world. Music is one of the things tyrants and dictators fear most. Music may or may not be how God created the world, but it certainly was the way He was welcomed into it.

I love you, Lewis. I pray you’ll never mistake a song to be “just music”.

– Dad

photo credit: katherine lynn via photopin cc

How has music impacted your life?

Do you write songs? How does it feel to know you and God share the same passion?

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