13 July 2013

Love at Home

Just before my husband and I got married, I wracked my brain trying to think of something to give him for a wedding gift.  I thought of joint tennis lessons (he's active, and loves to play all kinds of things together).  I searched high and low for the right thing.  

Finally, nearly ready to give up, I pulled into my local Christian bookstore, partly to say hello to my friends the employees and partly to make one last attempt at finding the perfect wedding gift for my amazing groom.

Now, if you've grown up in the same circles that I did, you'll remember an oblong, tattered little hymn book that sits on your parents' and grandparents' shelves.  The cover may be ready to fall off, but you can probably still make out the title on the front.  If you're like me, you've wondered about that signature of ownership in the front--who owned it first, which were their favorite hymns to sing, how long they treasured and cared for the  little volume, all the while looking for the soon return of Jesus.  Maybe you see your parents' names written below the first name, with the phone number they must have had when you were born.  Maybe you've chuckled at the directness--and oh-so-trueness--of the temperance tunes, and tried to sing a few of the hymns without ever hearing them before.  Then you might wonder, like I do sometimes, why people ever stopped singing those unfamiliar gems.

So it was that day, as I walked into the bookstore, that I gasped.  Because here all this time of searching for the right gift, I had forgotten all about the one hundred year anniversary Christ in Song reprint.  My husband-to-be was a singer, a choir conductor, a professional musician with the goal and dream to always make music purely for the glory of God.  It was the perfect gift for my handsome singer.  Its title sums up his life mission in its three simple words.

I took it to the counter, where my friend and colleague of four and a half years smiled and promised to engrave the groom's name in silver, to match the title's lettering.  She refused to let me pay for the lettering.  I think her smile may have had something to do with the Bible she was engraving for me, from my groom, with my new married name.

We took our wedding gifts on our honeymoon--my new Bible and his new songbook--and established the habit of family worships in our married life.  (Worships together were a habit even in our dating life, but there's just something extra special about worships with your new spouse.)  We paged through the songs and spent a lovely afternoon near Mt. Rainier singing in our beautiful rented cabin.  (It was raining outside.)  

From that afternoon on, we knew just which hymn would, as often as possible, close our Sabbath days together:  Love at Home.

This Sabbath, he and I are apart.  But these words filter through my mind, drawing my heart closer to Jesus and closer to my husband, reminding me how it happens that marriages stay loving and families stay happy.  Take a look especially at the last verse, and make it your prayer with me today.

"There is beauty all around,
When there's love at home;
There is joy in ev'ry sound,
When there's love at home.

"Peace and plenty here abide, 
Smiling fair on ev'ry side;
Time doth softly, sweetly glide,
When there's love at home.

"Love at home,
Love at home;
Time doth softly, sweetly glide,
When there's love at home.

"In the cottage there is joy,
When there's love at home; 
Hate and envy ne'er annoy,
When there's love at home.

"Roses blossom 'neath our feet,
All the earth's a garden sweet,
Making life a bliss complete,
When there's love at home.


"Kindly heaven smiles above,
When there's love at home;  
All the earth is filled with love,
When there's love at home.

"Sweeter sings the brooklet by,
Brighter beams the azure sky;
O, there's One who smiles on high
When there's love at home.


"Jesus, make me wholly Thine,
Then there's love at home;
May Thy sacrifice be mine,
Then there's love at home.

"Safely from all harm I'll rest,
With no sinful care distress'd,
Thro' Thy tender mercy blessed,
When there's love at home.


Look for all four verses in Christ in Song, number 580, or three of the four verses in the Seventh-day Adventist Hymnal, number 652.

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