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Dec 17, 2017

Chimes in the Night

Chimes in the Night

Passage: Isaiah 40:9-11

Speaker: Tianna Durbin

Series: Advent 2017

Category: Advent

Keywords: advent, children, christmas, musical

Children's Musical directed by Tianna Durbin - Click on the 'Notes' to watch now.


Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your minds, so that you may discern what is the will of God-what is good and acceptable and perfect. - Romans 12: 2

Why Did Those Bells Ring?!
It is my joy to provide a devotional this week, especially as our youth and children’s musical draws to a close. First, a synopsis of the story line that our youth and children have been working to deliver during this Advent season: In a faraway land….yes, this is a fairy tale but with a deep theological meaning behind it! In this faraway land, there was a church at the top of the hill and every Christmas, people would come from far away on Christmas morning to hear the organ play and the bells ring. But, for years those bells just would not ring. People brought their finest gifts of gold, perfumes, silk scarves-and the list goes on. But, those bells would not ring. If you attended the musical, you are aware we acted out the “procession of the gifts’ and despite the many gifts, we did not make those bells ring. But, there is one young girl and boy on their way to the cathedral to lay down their gold coin that stop when they notice on that dark, snowy night, an older woman out in the cold and covered in a blanket to keep warm. At once, they realize this person needs shelter and care, and so they give up their gold coin so that the woman can receive the care she so desperately needs. Once the two children arrive at the cathedral, all they have is the bag the coin came in and their empty hands. It is in their song at the manger that they sing these words: “Jesus take my empty hands; use them; use them as your own.” And, yes that makes the bells finally ring! These two children truly made a sacrifice and so the ultimate idea of the musical, Chimes in the Night is: Sacrificial Giving. Thus, I would like to take a moment and talk about this word ‘sacrifice.’

The last few words of the Romans scripture printed above stands out to me about doing God’s will--not just the will of God but the acceptable and perfect will of God. Sometimes the word ‘sacrifice’ can become misunderstood, especially if we consider our faith and our will of God to be such a sacrifice that it leaves us depleted. For me, sacrifice as it pertains to my faith, is not a negative term. The Book of Romans cautions us to not be conformed to the world. You see, in our musical this past Sunday, the world thought material gifts would be the answer, yet God just wanted hands and feet to help someone come in from the cold and receive care. If you have ever helped someone in need, which I am sure most of us have, then you are already aware of that great feeling that comes from helping someone in their time of need. Why do we feel so good? Because God designed us in His image which means we have been designed to love the world just as “God so loved the world.” (Jn 3: 16)

Speaking of sacrifice, I cannot tell you the joy at watching all of the parts of the musical come together these past few months. There were many hands involved with costumes, sets, choreography, and music. This indeed was a sacrifice of time for not only the adults but for our youth and children as well. What did I see from all of this activity? I witnessed a community come together to offer their gifts of the Spirit so that others might benefit from those gifts. That was rather perfect. Oh and….did you see the beginning handbell choir ring those bells? A job well done to Jennifer Roberts for getting our beginning handbell choir started and to those ringers on their first worship service.


Holy God, as we wait for the coming of Christ, fill our hearts with your good and perfect will so that those who are cold will be brought to warmth, and those who are hungry will be fed. Emmanuel, Emmanuel, God with Us. Amen.

Written by Tianna Durbin. Tianna leads in music ministry and worship of Arcola Church. She also attends graduate school at Wesley Theological Seminary and looks forward to finishing her Master’s Degree in the near future. Besides work and school, she and her husband Chris stay busy keeping up with their two teenagers.