Saturday, December 25, 2010

Merry Christmas!

It's time for a confession... I have never really cared for Christmas music. The reason for this is that so often unrealistic things are mixed in with the theology of the song and it just annoys me. I guess I don't like to sing about things if that isn't how it actually was. This year, I ended up leading the choir at church for practicing Christmas songs, so I decided to make more of an effort to like Christmas music... to take the good for what it is and let the rest go.

There really is more good in Christmas music than I had previously seen. I feel bad even admitting this since everyone I know seems to love Christmas music, but I think you'll survive. There has been a few songs that have caught my eye this Christmas and so I thought I'd take the time to share a couple of those and really think through them.

Check out these verses of O Come, O Come, Emmanuel.

O come, Thou Wisdom from on high,
Who orderest all things mightily;
To us the path of knowledge show,
And teach us in her ways to go.

O come, Thou Rod of Jesse, free
Thine own from Satan’s tyranny;
From depths of hell Thy people save,
And give them victory over the grave.

O come, Thou Day-spring, come and cheer
Our spirits by Thine advent here;
Disperse the gloomy clouds of night,
And death’s dark shadows put to flight.

O come, O come, great Lord of might,
Who to Thy tribes on Sinai’s height
In ancient times once gave the law
In cloud and majesty and awe.

O come, Thou Root of Jesse’s tree,
An ensign of Thy people be;
Before Thee rulers silent fall;
All peoples on Thy mercy call.

O come, Desire of nations, bind
In one the hearts of all mankind;
Bid Thou our sad divisions cease,
And be Thyself our King of Peace.
It is sad that I haven't really taken the time to think through these Biblically-grounded words. I love how this song describes different aspects of God and shows our desire for Him to come and work out His plan in our hearts. I don't want these to be just words that we sing, but truly the desire of our hearts.

Verse 2 of What Child is This? caught my attention.
Why lies He in such mean estate,
Where ox and ass are feeding?
Good Christians, fear, for sinners here
The silent Word is pleading.
Nails, spear shall pierce Him through,
The cross be borne for me, for you.
Hail, hail the Word made flesh,
The Babe, the Son of Mary.
This is packed with truths from John 1, Isaiah 53 and Philippians 2. Oh that we would hear "the silent Word pleading"... His call to come and die so that we might live.

The song that stood out to me most by far was O Holy Night.
O holy night, the stars are brightly shining;
It is the night of the dear Savior’s birth!
Long lay the world in sin and error pining,
Till He appeared and the soul felt its worth.
A thrill of hope, the weary soul rejoices,
For yonder breaks a new and glorious morn.
Fall on your knees, O hear the angel voices!
O night divine, O night when Christ was born!
O night, O holy night, O night divine!

Led by the light of faith serenely beaming,
With glowing hearts by His cradle we stand.
So led by light of a star sweetly gleaming,
Here came the wise men from Orient land.
The King of kings lay thus in lowly manger,
In all our trials born to be our Friend!
He knows our need—to our weakness is no stranger.
Behold your King; before Him lowly bend!
Behold your King; before Him lowly bend!

Truly He taught us to love one another;
His law is love and His Gospel is peace.
Chains shall He break for the slave is our brother
And in His Name all oppression shall cease.
Sweet hymns of joy in grateful chorus raise we,
Let all within us praise His holy Name!
Christ is the Lord! O praise His name forever!
His pow’r and glory evermore proclaim!
His pow’r and glory evermore proclaim!
Do we feel His worth? Even more than that, do we know His worth? Does the hope of knowing His worth give us this "thrill of hope"? What a gift!

Are we walking by faith? Do we realize the humility in which the King of all kings came? Do we realize that He has called us His friends? Do we realize that He understands our every weakness? Does this reality cause us to be like Him and humble ourselves before Him in awe and worship?

He has taught us to love... but are we truly loving one another? Are we making ourselves of little reputation for the sake of others? Are we esteeming others more highly than ourselves? His commands are not burdensome! They come from the very heart of love. His Gospel is the absolute only way to have peace with God. He has come that we would know Him, be like Him and know the hope of His coming... and that in knowing this hope, we would purify ourselves and watch as He looses the chains of sin and death. If that isn't a cause for hymns and songs of joy, I don't know what is! Let all that is within us praise His holy Name! Christ is indeed the Lord... we must praise His name forever!

God, forgive me for singing these words so blindly. Thank You for these powerful words of truth. Cause my heart to overflow with the joy of Christ. Cause both my words and actions to praise Your name as long as I live. Thank You for sending Your Son to take on frail human flesh so that we could know You. Let the wisdom that You pour out continually guide my every action. Guard me from turning to the right or to the left. You who order all things in a mighty way, lead me to the full joy of walking in obedience to You. May my heart proclaim Your glory.

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