This year, I got one really true Christmas present. Not only was it a Christmas wish come true, but it is the only present that means a lot to me. It didn’t come from Joelle or any one of our kids. If anything, it came from God through Calvary Baptist Church. My Christmas present was a song. Not just any song, however. It was one that I was really really hoping to sing with the men’s quartet (that I have been more than grateful to be a part of), with a band behind us. Sure enough, with the help of both Sharon Ballantyne and Gwen Pifer, it all came together and Dave Ballantyne, Dave Peterson, Keith Miles and myself performed Mary Was The First One To Carry The Gospel at the Christmas Eve service.
It means so much to me because of not only the meaning of the song itself, but the song practically sang itself to me. I would wake up with this song in my head as if a quartet of angels from Heaven were singing this to me. If fact, I think that is what probably happened. The song attached itself to me so much that I just had to share it with not only the quartet, but the church as well. I told Sharon about it and her and Gwen helped us get it together. To me, this was a real gift, because it was from the hearts of everyone involved and it made my year long prayer about this come true. And, it came from God because He answered the prayer. He also gave me the vision and the courage to act on it. Not to mention that my prayers got answered when the accompaniment tape was delayed and in fact never made it, so we had to put a band together on this and having Rob Chambers on drums and Paul Pharoah on bass, with Sharon leading on piano, was more than gratifying to my heart. They, along with the quartet brought out something deep inside.
In fact, I know it was God blessed because I was doing this on God’s strength, because I have been ill for the past two weeks, starting off with a cold and now fighting off an infection in my throat, with the swollen lymph nodes to show for it. No one on the worship team knew if I was going to make it on Christmas Eve for either the worship team or the quartet, but God pulled me through it and gave me the strength to be a part of the prayer that I prayed. I even got a few little Christmas bonuses in the service, such as doing the intro to What Child Is This. None of the presents I got can compare to what God gave me for Christmas this year. And it really was Joy, Sweet Joy!