The other day I was making supper (Mexican again – burrito bowls!) and washing up the dishes. The first snow of the year had been tumbling down in the prettiest way all afternoon, compelling me to break my own personal rule: No Christmas Music Until After Thanksgiving. Maybe it’s because I hadn’t heard it in a whole year, or maybe it poked my heart in just the right spot, but one Christmas carol in and I was cut to the quick. I felt as if the knees of my soul buckled and dropped in the most awe-filled way about Christmas. It was AWE & JOY.
Christmas carols. You know how it can be… familiarity with songs can numb their power to move our hearts with their message. So can associating them too intrinsically with the nostalgia of Christmases past.
I want to try and show you what was happening inside of me as I stood at the sink, happily dying on the inside over this Christmas carol. Basically, I subconsciously began translating the all-too-familiar, super poetic lyrics into everyday language. No rhyme, no tune, no metaphors. Just raw words. This is an invitation to read the paraphrase below, and see if you can tell which Christmas carol I was listening to! P.S. No looking ahead, that’s cheating.
“Listen up! The messenger-angel is singing something. His song goes like this: ‘May the new born King be glorified!’ Now there will be peace on the earth, and great mercy. God and sinners will now able to reconcile! What JOY. You Nations, stand up and sing along with the triumphant song heard in the sky, sung by the angels! Proclaim it in unison with the angels: ‘God’s Son has been born on the earth!'”
Can you guess it? The answer will be at the bottom.
Just for fun – and maybe even a few laughs – here’s a few more!
“On this set-apart and perfect night, just look at the gleaming stars. On this night, our Savior was born on earth. For too long, the world has yearned for this moment…. stuck deep in sin and wrong-doing. Until now. Now that our God has come down to us, we can see how much we mean to Him.
“This tired world celebrates the thrilling hope of a new day in history. Fall to your knees! Hear and receive the message the angels are singing! This night that Jesus was born is an other-worldly night.”
“Be relieved, you guys! You don’t need to be dismayed any longer, about anything! I’m reminding you that Christ is the Savior, and He was born on Christmas Day. He was born to save us all from the power of His adversary Satan, which imprisoned us for as long as we were estranged from God. Oh, what good news… bringing joy and comfort. Oh, what joyful and comforting news.”
“The very first Christmas greeting was given to a handful of poor shepherds while they laid out in their fields. Late on a bitterly cold winter night, it was in those fields where those shepherd were lying down – keeping the sheep – that the angels suddenly sang out ‘Happy day! Happy day! The King of Israel has been born on earth!'”
“Your people plead for You, the One whose name means ‘God With Us,’ to finally come. We are held captive, and can only be ransomed by the blood of the one perfect God. Without God here, we sit lonely in our exile. But only until the Son of God appears! So celebrate! Rejoice! ‘God With Us’ shall come to us.”
“Each of you faithful ones – you who believed God’s promise and fervently awaited God’s birth on earth – be joyful and triumphant! Come, come to Bethlehem and look at Him! He is here; the King of angels has set foot on the world.
“Come, let’s honor Him. Come, let’s lavish every last ounce of our love on Him. Come, let’s revere Him – He is the Savior, the Lord!”
Beyond the nostalgia and anticipation, Christmas reflects the faintest first glimmers of hope the world ever experienced: our Lord came down.
[ANSWERS – Carol #1: Hark! The Herald; Carol #2: O Holy Night; Carol #3: God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen; Carol #4: The First Noel; Carol #5: O Come, O Come Emmanuel; Carol #6: O Come All Ye Faithful]