Author and artist Joan Walsh Anglund once said, “A bird does not sing because it has an answer. It sings because it has a song.” We all have questions about certain things and we want answers to our questions. And there are many people out there with answers. Some answers are helpful and others are not. And if someone does not have an adequate answer, often times they will make one up. So we like answers and we want answers.
However, I like the direction in which the Walsh Anglund quote goes because it gets us away from our need to have an answer for everything and it focuses on the importance of proclamation or declaration. Yes, a bird does indeed sing because it has a song. This summer I made an effort to pay attention to the songs of the birds that inhabit the trees around our house. I was able to distinguish between the songs of the Carolina Wren and the Black Capped Chickadee. I also learned to distinguish between the sounds of the Northern Cardinal and the American Robin. And I agree with Walsh Anglund. Many times I felt that a bird was not communicating with another bird or offering an answer but the bird was simply singing its song. There were occasions when I could get close to a particular bird and watch its beak and throat move and it seemed clear that the bird was singing simply because it can. What a joy it was to see and hear a bird singing its heart out.
As we enter the month of November we are reminded that the holiday season is on our doorstep. At times it is important to have an answer or two as to why we give thanks to God for our blessings. And during the season of Advent, it is important to have an answer or two as to why God sent Jesus to this earth. But through the years, I have found that the holiday season can give us great meaning if we simply learn to sing the song of the season. We can derive great joy if we are able to sing the song of Thanksgiving and if we are able to sing the song of Christmas.
As your pastor, I have some answers but I don’t have them all. I also have unanswered questions like the rest of you. But I do like to sing, even if I have trouble carrying a tune. But staying on key isn’t what is important. The important thing is to sing the song in the first place. Sing the song of Thanksgiving and sing the song of Christmas because you have joy in your heart and because you have a message to proclaim. As the holiday season comes closer and closer, don’t forget to sing from time to time.