music of Christmas
It’s everywhere right now. The music of Christmas, playing in stores and crowded malls. All the classics and new hits, repeating day and night, on the radio.
Scrambled in with the noise of Jingle Bells, reindeer and Santa’s sleigh, are the beautiful chords of traditional carols being sung . . . lyrics that we as Christians are just a bit more tuned to recognize. In fact, it’s surprising to be out in a secular crowd and hear someone singing, “Christ the Savior is born!” You may feel a bit like Elf as your heart exclaims, I know Him!
The reality is, only at this time of year do we hear the words of Isaiah and the proclamation of Christ’s birth float through the airwaves as people sing along to familiar songs they know, but don’t truly understand.
Recently, I was listening to Frank Sinatra sing Silent Night. Over the years, he recorded it several times, but the version I was hearing was his last. He was already quite ill and did it as a favor for a children’s charity. It’s a melancholy version which makes you wonder if he truly knew what he was singing? It brings me to tears every time, as I don’t suppose he ever really thought about the words.
Silent Night, Holy Night, shepherds quake at the sight. Glory streams from Heaven afar. Heavenly hosts sing Alleluia. Christ the Savior is born . . . Christ the Savior is born.
That classic Frank Sinatra style still comes through, but there is sadness in his voice. The voice of a man facing his own mortality, with much more of his life behind him than in front. Singing about the birth of Jesus, our Lord.
The night that changed the world.
For us, these hymns are beautiful reminders of the night that changed the world. The night our Savior laid down His deity and covered Himself in flesh and blood to save us from our own sin. The story of ultimate sacrifice. Love defined and prophecy fulfilled. Life-changing truth.
But to the world? Just old melodies with outdated words from long ago in their childhood. Singing sleep in heavenly peace as if it were just a lullaby. The inspired beauty of the music of Christmas is forgotten, submerged in counterfeit reasons for the season.
Hark the herald angels sing, glory to the newborn King. Peace on earth and mercy mild, God and sinner reconciled.
Anyone my age would remember singing this carol in school. Charles Wesley wrote it in 1739 and the message is as real and powerful today as it was then. This is the gospel message of man reconciled to his Creator, his Redeemer, his Savior.
Pastor Greg has often challenged us to build a bridge, to look for opportunities to share the gospel message with those around us. What better time than now, in this Christmas season when people are already singing about Him?
If we truly believe what God says in Isaiah 55:11, then we understand that God’s Word—whether reading, hearing, or singing it—will accomplish the perfect work that God intended. It will not return void or empty. That means those who are singing the gospel message are hearing the gospel message.
That may be why the singing of hymns is banned in many schools and public places. There is truth in these lyrics that the devil doesn’t want the world to hear. There is hope and the promise of peace from a Savior who has come, and who will return.
Unto us a child is born, unto us a Son is given.
. . . and His name shall be Wonderful, Counselor, Almighty God, Everlasting Father.
As believers, we too may fall into the familiar and not really ponder the words we are singing. Let’s not sing these songs from habit or nostalgia, but from a heart of celebration and thanksgiving. When was the last time you really listened to the lyrics?
God rest ye merry, gentlemen, let nothing you dismay. Remember Christ our Savior was born on Christmas day, to save us all from Satan’s power when we were gone astray, oh tidings of comfort and joy.
From God, our Heavenly Father, a blessed angel came, and unto certain shepherds brought tidings of the same, how that in Bethlehem was born the Son of God by name, oh tidings of comfort and joy.
Yes, these songs do bring comfort and joy to the believer!
A friend of mine has her own Christmas tradition of giving back to the Lord in a beautiful way. It’s her gift to her Savior at Christmas. She prays for an opportunity to lead someone to Christ. Being faithful, God always provides that opportunity.
Much like Philip, in his encounter with the Eunuch who was reading what he didn’t understand in God’s Word, you will hear people singing words they don’t fully grasp.
My dear friends, may I challenge you this Christmas to pray for an opportunity to share the true gospel with someone, and see what the Lord does. He may just give you the chance to introduce someone to the very One we are singing about!
And let’s sing these songs with renewed inspiration this year, from a worshipful and grateful heart.
Fall on your knees, oh hear the angel voices, oh night divine, oh night when Christ was born.