Those Who Sing Pray Twice

Tim Brown

READ : Luke 1:26-38
Luke 1:46-55

And Mary said, “My soul magnifies the Lord . . . “ (v. 46)

The Gospel of Luke, the third voice in our chorus of gospel witnesses, is punctuated by glorious singing that announces the coming of Jesus: the angel Gabriel’s song to Mary, Mary’s joyous response to that announcement, Zechariah’s song at the naming of John the Baptist, the angel’s heavenly chorus on the night of Jesus’ birth, and Simeon’s song on the occasion of Jesus’ circumcision.

Each of these songs is a treasure of Christian theology and an invitation to sing out gladly. God’s people always sing! Miriam and Moses sang in response to God’s saving acts, and Paul and Silas sang in anticipation of the same. Isaac Watts includes in one of his hymns the only reason why we would not sing, “Let those refuse to sing who never knew our God.” If you do not know the Lord you do not have to sing. If you do, you must!

I once overheard the janitor of our church singing in the sanctuary while cleaning up after the Christmas Eve service. When I commented on his beautiful singing he responded in a way that would make Luke happy, “I guess I still have some ‘Hallelujahs’ left over.”

Maybe this is why St. Augustine once said, “Those who sing pray twice.”


Fill our hearts with Advent joy, O God, so that we might sing to the praise of your glory. Amen.