I love Christmas music. I love the traditional songs as well as the newer ones. And, one of the things that I’ve noticed over the past couple of years is how theologically rich and true so many of these song are. They’re saturated with beautiful and infinitely valuable truths from the Bible about God in Christ that I had missed for decades, despite having sung them who knows how many times.
Familiarity, indeed, breeds contempt. Christmas songs had become so familiar to me that I had lost the profundity and glory they exalted. But, relatively recently, I’ve been purposefully considering the lyrics of some of my favorite Christmas songs and what they’re actually saying. Some of them are so good that one could simply read through the lyrics and have preached a complete, Christ-exalting sermon.
Are there any songs that you find particularly meaningful? I’d love to hear what your favorite Christmas songs are and why. What are the lyrics of your favorite Christmas songs saying that the rest of us might be missing due simply to our familiarity with them?
Here are a few of mine and a little bit of how they help me see and savor the glory of Jesus:
Hark! The Herald Angels Sing (I am continually amazed at how theologically and doctrinally rich this song is.)
Hark! The herald angels sing, -----the angels are there to glorify God
“Glory to the newborn King; ----- God coming to earth to save us brings him great glory both here and in heaven
Peace on earth, and mercy mild, -----the mercy of the cross of Christ purchased peace between God and his children
God and sinners reconciled!” -----Jesus came, not to bring wrath, but to die as a substitutionary atonement - at-one-ment - for our sins to reconcile us to God. (John 3:17)
Joyful, all ye nations rise, -----God coming as the Savior should bring me exceeding happiness!
Join the triumph of the skies; -----I learned from C.S. Lewis’ Reflections on the Psalms that praise seeks to recruit others to join in on the praise of the glory being praised; the angels are happy and glorifying God for what he is doing and their praise naturally invites us to join them
With th’angelic host proclaim, -----again, the angels praise God
“Christ is born in Bethlehem!” -----God has incomprehensibly condescended himself as he came to earth and became a man so that he could save us
Hark! the herald angels sing,
“Glory to the newborn King!” -----glory, indeed, to Christ!
Glorious by For King and Country (I love this band because they have some of the most God-Centered, Christ-exalting lyrics I know of.)
For unto us a child is born
He is the chorus to every song that we were born to sing -----I’m here to enjoy, sing about, and glorify God!
He is the rhythm of your heart so let the beat begin -----I only live because Jesus gives me life
(It’s so) Glorious
(He is) Glorious -----Jesus is glorious!
(Yeah) Glory, this is God with us -----Immanuel
He is the miracle of the love that set the people free -----Jesus saves me from my sin and all of its effects
He is the wonder of the world like we have never seen -----Jesus is a wonder beyond understanding
(It’s so) Glorious
(He is) Glorious
(Yeah) Glory, this is God with us
For King and Country just has a way with their lyrics (poetry) that helps me to cherish the greatness and goodness of God.
How Many Kings by Downhere
How many kings step down from their thrones?
How many lords have abandoned their homes?
How many greats have become the least?
How many gods have poured out their hearts
To romance a world that is torn all apart?
How many fathers gave up their sons for me?
Only One did that for me.
Both the lyrics and the music of this song move me to praise God for who he is. He didn’t have to do any of what he did. But, he did. I still can’t get over this. Thinking about how holy and great God is and how I deserved none of what he did for me just brings me to praise him in adoration and thanks. He is so great! He is so good!
I think an integral part of being an evangelist is exulting in the very truth and beauty that we’re sharing with others and trying to help them to see and savor. With that in mind, I’m eager to hear your contributions here as you help the rest of us cherish our wonderful God through Christmas music. So, what are your favorite Christmas songs and why? How do they move you to adore our glorious God?