“Suddenly a great company of heavenly host appeared with the angel, praising God and saying, ‘Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace to men on whom His favor rests'” (Luke 2:13-14 NIV)
Friend To Friend
When my son was four-years-old, I overheard him singing “O Holy Night” in his best vibrato voice. I chuckled as I heard him bellow, “Long lay the world in sin and ever whining!” Sin and error pining wasn’t in his vocabulary, but he definitely understood the concept of ever whining. The words to Christmas carols explain the gospel to many unsuspecting listeners. I can still remember the exhilaration I felt hearing Joy to the world the Lord has come being sung over the intercom of a department store. A preacher on a soapbox would have been offensive; however, the sweet music on the intercom was singing the gospel, with shoppers humming along.
During the holiday season, savor the richness of carols and use them for your own personal or family devotional times.
For example, let’s look at the words to Hark! The Herald Angels Sing. Did you ever wonder why the angels were so excited? The next line gives us a hint. “Glory to the newborn King.” They were excited because a new king was born! Check out all those exclamation marks! The next line says “Peace on earth and mercy mild, God and sinners reconciled.” Some people are not too crazy about the word “sinner.” But originally it was an archery term that meant the distance between the bull’s eye and where the arrow landed on the target. Therefore, “sin” meant “to miss the perfect mark.” And it still means that today. Sin means to miss the mark of God’s perfection. The Bible tells us that all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God. And because of that sin, we are separated from God. We didn’t become a sinner the first time we did something wrong. We were born that way…but the good news is that God didn’t leave us that way.
The first verse of Hark the Herald Angels Sing tells us WHY Jesus came – to reconcile or join us back together with God. It also tells us TO WHOM Jesus came – “to all nations.” No wonder the angels were so excited! Verse two tells us WHO Jesus is. Can you list all the descriptions of Jesus found in verse two? He is adored in heaven. He is the everlasting Lord. He is the offspring of a Virgin’s womb. He is God with flesh and bones. He is Deity. He is Emmanuel, which means, God with us. Verse three tells us HOW the Christ child made eternal life available to all mankind. He laid aside His glorious heavenly position, came to earth as a man, and gave His life so that we could experience a second birth- a spiritual birth- and live eternally in heaven.
This one Christmas carol shows WHY Jesus came, FOR WHOM He came, WHO He was, and HOW He would accomplish His purposes to reconcile us with the Father. All that is packed into one Christmas carol! Now pick out another carol and see what treasures are tucked inside.
Dear Lord, when I read the words to Hark the Herald Angels Sing, I understand why there are so many exclamation marks. I understand why the angels were so excited. They had been waiting since the fall of man for Your marvelous plan of redemption to be set in motion. Help me never forget Your amazing gift!
In Jesus’ Name,
Now It’s Your Turn
Did you know all that theology was packed inside Hark the Herald Angels Sing? Now, pick another favorite Christmas Carol from a hymnal, or write down the words from memory, and see what you can learn about Jesus and His birth.
It is hard not to get so caught up in the pre-Christmas swirl of activity that we lose focus on what’s important. If you would like ways to keep Jesus the focus of your holiday season, you’ll love by Sharon Jaynes. It’s packed with helpful ideas and holiday inspiration.