But the angel said to them, “Do not be afraid. I bring you good news of great joy that will be for all the people. Today in the town of David a Savior has been born to you; he is Christ – the Lord (Luke 2:10-11, NIV).
Friend to Friend
I love hearing children sing Christmas carols! One little girl was heard singing that the shepherds were “washing their socks by night!” 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 boom, “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.
When I became a Christian, the words to familiar Christmas carols began jumping off the pages of the hymnal. It seems the gospel was right there in the words to the carols, and I had missed it before. I began to see what God had done in my life in the words of Silent Night, O Little Town of Bethlehem, and Hark! The Herald Angels Sing.
For example, let’s look at the words to Hark! The Herald Angels Sing.
First, look at all those exclamation marks in the song! These angels must have been very excited, and no wonder! They were proclaiming the birth of Jesus, the “newborn King.”
The second 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 says that all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God. And because of that sin, we have been separated from God. 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 one tells us why Jesus came. Verse two tells us WHO He was. 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 – 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 second birth (be born again) and live eternally in heaven.
Hark! The Herald Angels Sing tells us WHY Jesus came, WHO He was, and HOW He would accomplish His purposes to reconcile a lost world to God. That’s the gospel in a nutshell, and it’s all packed into one Christmas Carol.
This holiday season, as you sing the familiar Christmas Carols, look for the gospel among the verses and let the melody of God’s great Gift fill your heart.
Dear Heavenly Father, thank you so much for the men and women who have gone before us to pen the words to the carols we sing today. I pray that as I sing the familiar words, You will stir me to praise You afresh. And I also pray for those who do not know Jesus as Lord and Savior. I pray that as they sing the words to carols or even hear them on the radio, they will recognize the gospel and understand that Jesus came as the babe in the manger to die on the cross…because of His great love for them. I pray that they will hear the gospel and embrace the truth.
In Jesus’ Name,
Now It’s Your Turn
Pretend that you did not have a Bible handy, but only a hymnal or book of Christmas carols. Could you explain the gospel through the words in the songs? Why not give it a try.
If you have children, consider using a hymnal for a family devotion, explaining the meaning to various Christmas songs.
More from the Girlfriends:
It is hard not to get caught up in the pre-Christmas swirl of activity and lose focus on what’s important. If you would like ways to keep Jesus the focus of your holiday season, you’ll love Celebrating a Christ Centered Christmas by Sharon Jaynes. It’s packed with helpful ideas and inspiration.
It’s finally here! Sharon, Gwen and Mary’s new 12-week devotion book, Trusting God, is now available. This is the perfect book for individual study or for gathering a group of friends in what we call GiG Groups. With impactful devotions, study questions, journal pages, free on-line video intros, and an index of trust-building Scriptures…this book is a resource you’ll refer to time-and-time again.