December 2015

The Birthday of a King!

 
I’ve already told Tyler, I love Christmas songs (and, so I hope we sing lots of them)! Hymns, to me, are great  theological lessons. They teach us about the majesty of God, the glory of our Creator, and they don’t gloss over the more difficult concepts of our understanding of who God is on their way to praise the more easy to understand ideas. They are high, as God is high. And, Christmas hymns tell the story of Jesus’ birth in a way more beautiful than simple words (with the exception of Scripture) ever could.

 

The words of “O Come, O Come, Emmanuel” relate to us the anticipation that the Children of Israel felt, and now we feel today, when we consider the coming of the Messiah foretold in Isaiah 6:14,“Therefore, the Lord Himself will give you a sign: Behold a virgin will be with child and bear a son, and she will call His name Immanuel.” When we consider Immanuel, God with us, we think about the coming of God in such a lowly, yet profound, way that even shepherds could understand and appreciate.“Silent Night,” “O Little Town of Bethlehem,” and “Away in a Manger” tell the beautiful story of the birth of the Christchild. The peace conveyed in these simple words and comforting music tell the Gospel story of the night of Jesus’ birth in a way that enables us to imagine a peaceful night on which the Prince of Peace made His entry upon the earth. They’re almost lullabies, yet their words explain in no uncertain terms that God had, indeed, come to earth that night.
 
In stark contrast to these quiet songs of love denoting the birth of a baby, several hymns tell the moving and powerful story of the birth of, not only a baby, but a King. On the hillside outside Bethlehem, the silence was shattered as angels came from heaven to announce the coming of Jesus. Luke 2:13 says, “And suddenly there appeared with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God and saying, ‘Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace among
men with whom He is pleased.’”
 
Just imagine the unrestrained joy coming from heaven as the angels announced Christ’s birth! Oh, to be a shepherd on that night! But, we can feel something of that when we hear “Hark! The Herald Angels Sing,” “Angels, from the Realms of Glory,” “Angels We Have Heard on High,” and “Joy to the World.”The songs are triumphant, as is their subject.
 
This year, as we gather together to worship Jesus by meditating on His birth, let’s not simply sing these great songs ofour faith. Let’s really listen to their words as they call us to remember, worship, learn, hear, and experience this singu-lar event in the history of humankind. Let’s sing, with William Harold Neidlinger, these words, “Alleluia! O how the angels sang. Alleluia! How it rang! And the sky was bright with a holy light, ‘Twas the birthday of a King.”

 

In His Love,
Bro. Heath