I am guilty of singing lyrics to songs without really thinking about what they mean. I’m a product of the 80’s and my parents are fans of rock and roll, so I grew up singing all kinds of things! When I had my own kids and tried to introduce them to music that I grew up with, I realized what words I had been singing! Whoops! 😉
I sometimes do that with Christian music too. It’s easy to check out mentally when the radio is on and just sing without really being focused on worshipping Jesus. This year, however, I have a song lyric that has become the theme for my Christmas. It’s one of those familiar songs that we can sing the words to without processing what they mean. Read the lyrics slowly:
“O Holy night! The stars are brightly shining
It is the night of our dear Savior’s birth
Long lay the world in sin and error pining
‘Til He appears and the soul felt its worth
A thrill of hope the weary world rejoices
For yonder breaks a new and glorious morn
Fall on your knees; O hear the Angel voices!
O night divine, O night when Christ was born
O night, O Holy night, O night divine!”
Wow, right? This song is packed with theology and is the cry of my heart for our world.
The world that Jesus was born into was weary and dark. They were facing great political and spiritual unrest. King Herod heard the prophecies about a Savior who was coming and killed all of the baby boys born around the time of Jesus (Matthew 2:16). Can you even imagine having your child ripped from your arms and killed simply because he was a boy?
The answer that God sent wasn’t what the Jews expected. A helpless baby, born to a young mommy, in a lowly stable. That was God’s answer to the chaos of their day. Many religious people got offended and missed out on what He was doing. I don’t want to be guilty of the same thing. God birthed joy, peace, hope, truth, and salvation right there in their midst and many didn’t receive it.
I have never experienced a year packed with so much suffering. We’ve had racial injustice; rioting and protests; a pandemic; churches, schools and business had to shut down for months; many lost their jobs or are struggling to find jobs; a brutal election; murder hornets; a dust storm; wildfires; hurricanes; unrest in the Middle East, Russia and China; deep isolation and loneliness; a toilet paper shortage (ha!); and a wicked cancel culture in the media. You just about name it and we have faced it in 2020.
Our weary, dark world is desperate for some rejoicing. Jesus is still the answer and He is still bringing joy, peace, hope, truth, and salvation. We have to remember that He does things differently from what we are expecting. Are we seeking Him and intentionally looking for the joy that He brings? Or are our eyes so fixed on the negative things going on that we are missing what He has for us?
“Don’t be afraid!” he said. “I bring you good news that will bring great joy to all people. The Savior—yes, the Messiah, the Lord—has been born today in Bethlehem, the city of David! And you will recognize him by this sign: You will find a baby wrapped snugly in strips of cloth, lying in a manger.”
Suddenly, the angel was joined by a vast host of others—the armies of heaven—praising God and saying,
“Glory to God in highest heaven,
and peace on earth to those with whom God is pleased,” (Luke 2:10-14 NLT).
I pray that we, as the Church, echo the words of the angel on that most holy of nights: “Don’t be afraid! I bring you good news…” Our world desperately needs to hear good news. I also pray that you and your family have a wonderful, sweet, restful Christmas. May you truly experience the joy that only Jesus brings.