I can do all this through him who gives me strength. Philippians 4:13

“Just a quick reminder that we will be gathering on Monday, December 7th, at 6:30 p.m. to rehearse and record for the Christmas Eve worship,” Pastor Tim’s email read. “Since you will be on video, wear something Christmasy.”

Last Monday evening, singers and instrumentalists rehearsed the six pieces for an hour and a half. After a quick break, we recorded the service, beginning at 8:00 p.m., the time Keith and I usually relax at home before bedtime. My second wind was flagging.

“I’m getting old,” I muttered while praying for stamina: I can do all this through him who gives me strength. Though I didn’t always play as well as I wanted, I walked away humming the Little Drummer Boy. 

Our finest gifts we bring… To lay before the king… So to honor him…


“Blessed be the LORD!” Pastor’s Saturday email began. “I look forward to recording our Christmas Day worship tomorrow, following our 10 a.m. worship. Thank you for your involvement in bringing this worship opportunity to the world!”

Yesterday, after live-streaming the 10 o’clock Sunday morning service, we recorded the Lessons and Carols service for Christmas Day. For the first service’s one hymn at the beginning and contemporary piece at the end, I played my new flute as I had the previous Monday night. That flute is heavier and richer in tone but takes more embouchure and breath control—contributing to my fatigue last Monday night. For Lesson and Carols, I switched to my older, lighter flute since the service is almost entirely music.

Before Keith and I left home for early rehearsal, I ate a small bowl of yogurt and berries. About mid-morning, hunger pangs rattled me. Fatigue now hunger—where was my stamina? 

While praying Paul’s letter to the Philippians 4:13 again, I thought about the verse before: I know what it is to be in need, and I know what it is to have plenty. I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation, whether well fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or in want.

Paul didn’t make a secret of his privations suffered in the name of the Lord—see 2 Corinthians 11:23-33. He was imprisoned, flogged, beaten, stoned, and shipwrecked; in danger from natural exposure, bandits, fellow Jews and Gentiles; sleep deprived, hungry, thirsty, cold, naked, often exposed to death and running for his life.

Stamina. In Him. Whether in plenty or want. 

I had plenty, not privation. That awareness is part of stamina, too. Apparently, I needed reminding.


Today dawned cold and wet. As usual, I practiced both flutes, warming up the new flute and playing for a while then warming up the old flute to practice the more challenging pieces. 

While counting the beats, I counted my blessings.


  1. Alexander Kenny

    “The Little Drummer Boy” is inspiring! The Harry Simeone Chorale version, of course.

    • Carole Duff

      Yes! Yes! Of course!

  2. Sarah Myers

    Amen. Our perfection lies in our perseverance. You are a good and faithful servant . . . Take care. Stay well, my friend.

    • Carole Duff

      You too, you too, and you too. Merry Christmas!! -C.D.

  3. bigskybuckeye

    Speaking of stamina, the past year has been one to challenge anyone’s physical, emotional, and mental stamina. Thankfully, God’s Word has fueled my needs so I can better persevere. The verse from Philippians is a blessed one, and I read it often (it is on the cover of my writing notebook). Merry Christmas to you and Keith.

    • Carole Duff

      Merry Christmas to you, too, Richard! -C.D.


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