As we whistle, hum, and sing our way through the month of December, let's take a closer look at a few more carols. And, like my Silver Fox reminded me last week, even if you aren't a great singer with your voice, you can still "sing with your soul." (As in, "then sings my soul, my Savior, God to thee. How great Thou Art.")
HARK! THE HERALD ANGELS SING
I love the exuberance of this hymn tune written by Felix Mendelssohn in 1840, but the words, written a hundred years earlier by Charles Wesley, are what grab my heart today. Look at all the names of Jesus in this song:
The everlasting Lord
Offspring of a virgin's womb
Prince of Peace
Sun of righteousness
"Hark! the herald angels sing, 'Glory to the newborn King."
(One of the amazing stained glass windows inside Church of the Holy Trinity in Vicksburg, MS)
O LITTLE TOWN OF BETHLEHEM
Phillips Brooks wrote the words in 1868. Look at the fourth verse.
"O holy Child of Bethlehem!" -- the only begotten Son of God who was sent to walk among us and provide us with a way of salvation.
Hear the heartfelt prayer that comes next.
"Descend to us, we pray. Cast out our sin, and enter in, be born in us today!"
I hear that as saying -- Accept my earnest request for forgiveness of my many sins. Come down from heaven and let Your Holy Spirit dwell within me.
"O come to us, abide with us, Our Lord Immanuel!"
Powerful. THE message of Christmas for us living on earth today.
JOY TO THE WORLD! THE LORD IS COME
An exuberant statement of faith IN THE PRESENT TENSE, similar to Psalm 98.
1) Joy to the world! The Lord is come. Let earth receive her King.
Let every heart prepare him room, and heaven and nature sing.
2) Joy to the earth! The Savior reigns. Let men their songs employ.
While fields and floods, rocks, hills, and plains repeat the sounding joy.
3) No more let sins and sorrows grow, nor thorns infest the ground.
He comes to make His blessings flow far as the curse is found.
4) He rules the world with truth and grace, and makes the nations prove
The glories of His righteousness, and wonders of His love.
This was the joyous declaration of love for Jesus Christ penned by Isaac Watts more than three hundred years ago. I believe our individual declarations of faith in and love for Jesus will bring the truest Christmas spirit we could possibly have.
Luke 2: 13-14 -- "And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God, and saying, 'Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, good will toward men.' "