I love Christmas music. As soon as the radio stations start playing Christmas music, I’m listening. I’ve really enjoyed it this year because it felt like they started a little bit early. That’s ok, we needed it this year. I guess I’m a traditionalist because I love the old standards the best, especially the sacred carols. The words are reminders of the true meaning of Christmas. Here are my favorite lines from seven of my favorite Christmas carols.
Hark The Herald Angels Sing
“Hark the herald angels sing, glory to the newborn king, peace on earth and mercy mild, God and sinners reconciled.”
Have you ever been at odds with a friend, one of your children or your spouse. Think about how good it felt when you talked things over and reconciled; when you set your relationship right. What could be better than being reconciled with God? That is what happened when Jesus was born. We humans with our sinful natures, yes, all of us, could not possibly have a relationship with a holy God on our own merits. We needed someone to represent us, to be a mediator. It is a difficult concept to understand, but Jesus, being fully God and fully man was able to reconcile us humans with our holy God. Now that’s something to sing about! (The sweet Charlie Brown version is my favorite.)
“Silent night, holy night, Son of God, love’s pure light.”
I used to think it meant Jesus, the son of God, loves pure light. But, the way it is written, is that the Son of God is the pure light of love. Jesus said he is the light of the world. Think of all the verses about light and darkness. It is an eternal theme; good vs. bad, righteous vs. evil, light vs. darkness. God is love and his ultimate gift to us is his son Jesus Christ who is the light of the world.
O Little Town of Bethlehem
“The hopes and fears of all the years are met in thee tonight.”
What happens when hope collides with fear? Hope wins. There were so many fears faced by God’s children. Why was He silent for so long? Does He care about us anymore? Has He forgotten us? Was the promise of Messiah just a dream? All of those fears met face to face with the hope that was born in Bethlehem. Is this really Him? Is this the promised one? The shepherds believed and were filled with hope. The wise men believed and were filled with hope. Mary and Joseph believed and were filled with hope.
There are so many fears and uncertainties in our world today. For most of us, 2020 will go down as one of our most difficult years. But, even over 2,000 years later, we can have hope because the Son of God was born in that little town of Bethlehem.
I Heard the Bells on Christmas Day
You need to read all the lyrics to this song. You can really sense the transition from hopelessness to hopefulness. Here are the last two verses of this Christmas carol by poet Henry Wadsworth Longfellow.
And in despair, I bowed my head.
There is no peace on earth, I said.
For hate is strong and mocks the song
Of peace on earth, good will to men.
Then rang the bells more loud and deep,
God is not dead nor does He sleep.
The wrong shall fail, the right prevail
With peace on earth, good will to men.
O, Come All Ye Faithful
“O, Come let us adore him”
Adore is such a strong, positive word. You can say that you love someone, but, to say you adore them seems to take it a step further. Maybe it’s because we have cheapened the word love, throwing it around quite carelessly. We say we love shoes, a movie we’ve seen, a book we’ve read or our favorite food. But, to adore someone seems to imply more intimacy. And who is there to adore more than the Savior born in Bethlehem?
Mary Did You Know?
This is a relatively new Christmas song by Christian recording artist Mark Lowry. I’m not sure it would be classified as a carol but the imagery is strong, especially for anyone who is a mother. Two lines always get me. I especially love this version done by the a cappella group Pentatonix.
“Did you know that your baby boy has walked where angels trod?
When you kiss your little baby, you kiss the face of God”
“Did you know that your baby boy is heaven’s perfect lamb?
That sleeping child you’re holding, is the great I am“
O, Holy Night
“A thrill of hope the weary world rejoices”
“Fall on your knees!”
Again, there is that message of hope that came with the birth of Christ. The world was weary before Jesus came and his birth gave people hope. That truth still stands today. This is actually my favorite of all the Christmas Carols. The line about the thrill of hope makes me smile and sometimes, if it’s a powerful rendition, like this one, I really do want to fall on my knees.
I prefer the sacred carols over the secular Christmas songs, but I do like some of them, especially the older ones. My favorite is “It’s The Most Wonderful Time Of The Year”, by Andy Williams.
How about you? Do you have a favorite Christmas Carol? What lyrics speak to your heart at Christmas?