Fill in the blank… Joy to the world, ___ ____ ___ ____! Oh holy night, the stars are brightly shining. It is the night __ ___ ____ _______ _____! One more… Hark the herald angels sing, _____ __ ___ _______ ____!
You knew every word and probably sang along… didn’t you? I know I did! What do all three of these songs (and plenty other classic Christmas songs) have in common? They all spoke of Jesus? Yes. They are all beloved, nostalgic songs we’ve known forever? Yes. We have never paid attention to what the songs are actually saying and don’t know what they really mean? Ooh… yep! That’s the right answer. Admit it. If I asked you right now, without looking up lyrics or researching songs, could you tell me an overview or summary of what any one of those songs are talking about? Don’t tell me “Jesus”. We all know that! But really… What are they about? If you’re like most (and like me), you’d have to honestly answer with an “I don’t really know”.
It was as an adult that I made the decision to be a Christ follower. That particular year, on an early December afternoon while doing a bit of Christmas decorating at church, someone turned on some Christmas music to really set the festive mood. Nothing could have prepared me for what I was about to experience. The songs began to play… And in typical fashion, I started to sing. I couldn’t have been halfway through the first line of the first song played when it hit me like a ton of bricks. Those lyrics meant something profound. They weren’t just pretty holiday tunes. They were songs of gratefulness and worship to the King of kings. These songs were born out of the souls of those who recognized and understood the immense gravity of what the birth of Jesus launched into action meant. Joy to the world, the Lord has come! Let Earth receive her King! Oh holy night, the stars are brightly shining. It is the night of our dear Saviors birth! Hark the herald angels sing, glory to the newborn king! It was as if I was hearing every one of those songs for the very first time.
As each song played, I sobbed in total awe and gratefulness. What a thing Jesus did! I don’t recall if I managed to get very much decorating done that day or not. But one thing I will never forget… Jesus Himself gave me my first Christmas gift as a new believer… He gave me a new song for Christmas. And that new song filled my heart so full of gratitude and love that every song… no matter how many times I’d sung it before… became a new song. The bonus and beauty there is that the songs have never ever become “old” to me again. It really was the gift that keeps giving.
If you’ve never read the lyrics to those classic songs before, I recommend it. Don’t sing them… Just read. Let them speak to your heart from the place they were created. Ask God to open them up to you in a light you may have never thought to see them in. You’ll be blessed. I know I am.
Merry Christmas to you all.