I have a confession to make. I’ve heard, taught and tried to follow the “read, pray, sing” model for family devotions… but I really haven’t liked the “sing” part. Don’t get me wrong, I love to sing, and I love music, but something about singing an impromptu, a cappella song right before bed with my wife and kids has always felt weird.
So I decided to do something about it. That’s right, I bought a ukulele.
Why a ukulele? Well, it’s easier to play than a guitar, seems a bit more unique, portable and ready to party and, like my friend Kari said, “it just sounds like a beach.”
I can’t even play the thing yet and it has already moved our nightly praise and worship segment from awkward to awesome. I have selected “Jesus Loves Me” (obviously) as my first song to learn and am genuinely excited about mastering it on my first musical instrument and so (hopefully) beginning to normalize the singing of God’s praise in my home.
Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly, teaching and admonishing one another in all wisdom, singing psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, with thankfulness in your hearts to God.Colossians 3:16
But there’s another reason I bought a ukulele that I want to challenge you with…
One of my favorite Christmas memories as a child was gathering as a family on Christmas Eve and, before any presents were opened, discussing what we were going to give to Jesus for Christmas. This was a powerful, pivotal lesson for me – that Christmas was about giving, not getting, and that should definitely include giving back to God, who has given us the greatest gift of all.
We would go around the room, each offering something that we knew would please our Father. Whether it was more consistent Bible reading, being kinder toward others, giving something we had to someone in need or finding a new way to serve, my parents helped each of us come to a specific decision. Then, we would pray together, asking for God’s help in accomplishing what we intended.
And that’s the incredible thing about giving a gift to Jesus – he helps you give it! So what am I giving back to God this Christmas? I’m giving him my ukulele. I’m giving him my time, my talent and my voice to use for his glory in 2021. Whether it’s by my girl’s bedside or out on the patio on a cool evening, I want to play and sing loudly for the world to hear. I’m giving a gift of praise (and hopefully decent music). Will it be difficult? Yes. Will I want to practice every night? No. Are my fingers going to hurt? Probably. But I know Jesus will be with me every step of the way, encouraging me, helping me to see the value in building a beautiful discipline when I’m tempted to waste time on lesser things.
What about you? What will you symbolically place under the tree for your Savior? You don’t have to go to the store, or frantically search online for items still available for 2-day shipping – he just wants more of your heart. Will you give it to him? If you do, I guarantee he’ll end up giving back to you in the process. He can’t help it, it’s just who he is.