We decided to take advantage of Paraguayan summer vacation and invite the teenagers from the Hogar to our home for morning devotions. It's been fun. Every day a different little group shows up, depending on who has chores to do. Today, we got a new one because his 13th birthday was TODAY! What a great way to celebrate. We sang to him in three languages and I thought about how fun it was to be able to bring a smile to someone's face with something as simple as a song, and a song done way off-key at that!
Before we got started on the devotion, the kids wanted to show us what the kings brought them. SIDENOTE: The kings (aka the 3 Wise Men of the Nativity story) come on January 6 much like Santa comes on December 25. Somewhere in the night, these guys covertly sneak in and leave gifts for the children, who have prepared for the visit by putting their shoes outside. I guess that helps the kings know how many children are in each house? Back to the story.... the teens of Hogar Ganar received cute little mp3 players, which are all the rage among the youth of South America. These came pre-programmed (thank you, wise kings!) with a dozen or so Christian songs. The kids were so excited!
We spent about an hour filling up their players with other songs as they requested certain artists, and listened to the songs as we worked at that. I went back to deep thought about the power of music as I watched the shy ones do a little jig and the sometimes awkward ones sing out loud. It was like the pretenses of normal life were dropped for long enough to enjoy the songs.
As we loaded the songs, I prayed that the music would be a powerful influence in their lives, as I know it can be. I remembered all the times that, as a teen, a song would drive me deeper into angst or sadness over the latest drama or anger about someone who "did me wrong." (Yeah, you guessed it, I went through a country music phase.) I didn't listen to much Christian music back then, even though I was a Christian. Knowing what I know now about the power of music to influence my attitude, my spirit, my state of mind, I had to thank God that these young people have access to the positive side of that influence.
As we read scripture a few minutes later, I could hear Caroline on the porch having her guitar lesson, and I flashed back to Christmas day when she played "Silent Night" for a Skype call. Sure made her mommy proud. And then an hour or so later, Camille was mopping the floor and threw some loud music on to "make her mop faster".
How wonderful to think of how far Christian music has come in so few years. I know there are those who complain that the Christian music industry is just a knock-off, a cheap imitation of the real talent, but I remember where it started. I remember who made it originally. And I'm so thankful that an infinitely loving God gave us a gift that's basically unnecessary, just to make us happy. Thank God for artists who use their talents to share that gift with us and draw us closer to Him.