I’m a sucker for Christmas carols. This time of year, it always amazes me how worship songs are being played on the secular stations, how the big pop stars are proclaiming Jesus as Savior in their music.
Lizzy and I have been listening to a lot of Christmas music, occasionally dancing to it together, and generally letting it be the soundtrack to our days. And I’ve been struck by different parts of the old, familiar carols. It occurs to me that this happens each year…the songs are meaningful in new ways.
So as time and the 4 month-old permits, I’d like to highlight a few of my favorite songs and the ways they are speaking to me this year. And I’d love it if my readers would share their special connections with the songs as well! If there’s a particular phrase that’s meaningful or just a word or two that you find particularly inspiring, please join the chorus and let us know about it!
For the first song, I’ve chosen my favorite carol: “Oh Holy Night” (lyrics listed below).
As the mother of a newborn, I’m drawn to the “weary world rejoices” phrase, as the word “weary” can describe me many days. Lizzy has been sick for the past 2 weeks, with a growth spurt thrown in the middle there, to make for lack of sleep for the both of us, more feedings than usual, and a new interest in pulling out my hair. But I can still rejoice in so much, even though I’m tired and worn out. Jesus never promises we’re not going to be exhausted, but he does promise that we’ll have peace and rest in him.
And this line always gets me: “Chains shall He break for the slave is our brother.” We’re all slaves to something, constructing idols that bind us. But Jesus breaks those strongholds and frees us. It truly feels like shackles when a particular idol enslaves us. Isn’t it worth celebrating that our God is the God of freedom, and all we need to do is ask him to set us free from the sin that ensnares?
And the second part of the line, “for the slave is our brother,” reminds me not to look down on others who are enslaved in ways that I’m not. We’re all equally in need of Jesus, and people who suffer with addictions, worshipping the wrong things and people, and pursuing ungodly lifestyles, deserve brotherly love, not condescension. We’re all in this together, and nobody’s without fault (except that little baby in the manger).
(To read about other carols, click here.)
Oh Holy Night
Oh holy night!
The stars are brightly shining
It is the night of the dear Savior’s birth!
Long lay the world in sin and error pining
Till he appear’d 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
Oh hear the angel voices
Oh night divine
Oh night when Christ was born
Oh night divine
Oh night divine
Led by the light of Faith serenely beaming
With glowing hearts by His cradle we stand
So led by light of a star sweetly gleaming
Here come the wise men from Orient land
The King of Kings lay thus in lowly manger
In all our trials born to be our friend.
Truly He taught us to love one another
His law is love and His gospel is peace
Chains shall He break for the slave is our brother
And in His name all oppression shall cease
Sweet hymns of joy in grateful chorus raise we,
Let all within us praise His holy name.
Words by Chappeau de Roquemaure
Translated by John S. Dwight