It’s rare when you come across someone who doesn’t like Christmas music. The timeless melodies and tunes always seem to put a smile on my face and give me all the warm and fuzzier inside. Among the numerous Christmas songs, this is one of my favorites…of course Mariah Carey’s “All I Want for Christmas is You” is on up there too but that’s a whole different blog.
I wanted to take a quick moment to post and allow you to take some time to read through these verses. Often times routines in our lives can become well…routine. They tend to lose their meaning and flair. Before long it becomes more of an obligation than anything. Christmas falls into that category. Year after year it always catches us off guard in the aftermath of our Thanksgiving food-coma. Decorations have to go up in a timely manner. Gifts must be purchased and frantically wrapped because you’ve put it off to the last minute. Plans of getting together with family are stressfully filling the calendar. More layers must be worn in order to survive the cold. Language has to be changed so as to incorporate phrases like “ ’tis the season” and “the reason for the season.” And in the blink of an eye, it’s all over and we’re getting ready to bring in the new year.
“Hark! The Herald Angels Sing” is a beautifully written Christmas hymn that reminds us of why we really celebrate Christmas. If you’re familiar with the first verse and can sing it in your sleep, then take a closer look at the other verses…
Hark! the herald angels sing,
“Glory to the newborn King:
peace on earth, and mercy mild,
God and sinners reconciled!”
Joyful, all ye nations, rise,
join the triumph of the skies;
with th’angelic hosts proclaim,
“Christ is born in Bethlehem!”
Hark! the herald angels sing,
“Glory to the newborn King”
Christ, by highest heaven adored,
Christ, the everlasting Lord,
late in time behold him come,
offspring of the virgin’s womb:
veiled in flesh the Godhead see;
hail th’incarnate Deity,
please with us in flesh to dwell,
Jesus, our Immanuel. [Refrain]
Hail the heaven-born Prince of Peace!
Hail the Son of Righteousness!
Light and life to all he brings,
risen with healing in his wings.
Mild he lays his glory by,
born that man no more may die,
born to raise us from the earth,
born to give us second birth [Refrain]
WORDS: Charles Wesley, alt. George Whitefield
MUSIC: Felix Mendelssohn
This hymn is so beautifully and poetically written. In just three verses we get a taste of who Jesus is and why Christmas is so important. Christmas is the day we remember “Christ, the everlasting Lord,” who veiled himself in flesh and brings peace between “God and sinners” (that’s us!). Though it doesn’t talk about his death, Christ took our pain and punishment that was reserved for sinners and took it all on Himself so that all who would believe in His life, death, and resurrection would be reconciled. Because of that He brings peace, hope, light, new life, healing, mercy, reconciliation, joy.
Remember this. Take the time to stop and remember why we are truly celebrating Christmas. Remember what a beautiful and merciful gift of grace it was for our Savior to take on flesh. Remember the peace we have with one another is a grace that reflects the true peace found in Christ. Remember the beautiful lights and decorations that are visual reminders of redemption and the new light and life we find in Jesus.