With Christmas arriving so soon I have been reflecting on the unique beauty of Christmas carols. I have been examining a few classic carols, considering their lyrics, studying their history, and enjoying the fact that such a powerful proclamation is contained within such well-known, widely-distributed and heartwarming songs. There is no other means of Gospel proclamation so widely accepted across our culture!
A good Christmas carol is like a Heavenly beacon gleaming in the darkness of our day and age. It is like a Kingdom grenade detonating in the battle of good versus evil surrounding us. It is like a tweet of truth trending in the storm of confusion that daily bombards our lives.
Think about the weighty truths within Hark! The Herald Angels Sing, written by Charles Wesley in 1739. It reveals the incarnation poetically and passionately.
"Veiled in flesh the Godhead see
Hail the incarnate deity
Pleased as man with man to dwell
Jesus, our Emmanuel"
Ponder the depth of Oh, Holy Night, written by Adolphe Adam in 1847. It aches with despair and delight.
"Long lay the world in sin and error pining,
'Till He appear'd and the soul felt its worth."
Consider for a moment the force of Mary, Did You Know, written by Mark Lowry in 1984. It displays wonder and worship in interwoven tension.
"Mary, did you know that your Baby Boy is Lord of all creation?
Mary, did you know that your Baby Boy would one day rule the nations?
Did you know that your Baby Boy is heaven's perfect Lamb?
The sleeping Child you're holding is the Great, I Am."
As I pause and think about the beauty of the lyrics and the deep truth of the words of these Christmas songs I wonder if we have become numb to the power contained within them- desensitized through overstimulation. We hear them in the background music at Rite-Aid. We hear them non-stop on Spirit 88.9. We hear them on Sundays at church during Advent.
But... do we proclaim them?
Do we savor them?
Do we dwell on the profound truths within them?
Hidden in the midst of many of the Psalms is the Hebrew phrase, selah. It means, "pause and think about it". It is repeated 71 times throughout the 150 psalms. I get the picture that the writers of the Psalms understood the weight of the words they penned and the power contained within them. They understood it so well they planned contemplative moments within their songs.
Selah. Pause and think about what was just sung. Declared. Proclaimed.
This Christmas season, join with me in savoring the tweets of truth contained in our Christmas carols. Join with me in gathering other families to sing Heavenly beacons into the darkness. Join with me in proclaiming Kingdom grenades from the street corners.