Home > Brandenburg, Christmas > We Know What We’re Singing at Christmas, But Do They?

We Know What We’re Singing at Christmas, But Do They?

December 12, 2007

Have you wondered recently about what unbelievers think they are singing when they sing Christmas carols?  A few years ago we had a big family reunion on my wife’s side down in Orlando, FL during the Christmas season.  We went to Epcot Center there and there was a fabulous Christmas program held that we were able to watch from a distance.  They had an impressive orchestra and choir and celebrity Christmas reader.  Many of the songs were the commonly sung Christmas carols.  It was all very beautiful.  I remember asking myself:  “Do they even know what they’re singing?”  If they did, and the people watching also did, who paid an extra high price to get into the seats, then their lives would be radically different.  These songs are some of the best songs that we sing.  And what do they say?

Most of them, when you think about the lyrics, come from the truths found in the Christmas story itself, a story about which Luke 2:33 says:

And Joseph and his mother marvelled at those things which were spoken of him.

Most parents aren’t surprised that they have a unique child.  They expect it.  But the things said about Jesus were way above what anyone could possibly comprehend.  What was said about this wonder child, the Lord Jesus Christ, are also the words to the songs that we sing, and they say:

1.  Jesus is God

We sing,  “Joy to the world the Lord is come.” “Yea, Lord, we greet Thee, born this happy morning.” “Come adore on bended knee Christ the Lord.” “Christ by highest heaven adored, Christ the everlasting Lord, veiled in flesh the Godhead see, Hail the incarnate deity, Jesus our Emmanuel.” “Yet in the dark street shineth the everlasting light.”  We sing, “O come to us, abide with us, our Lord Emmanuel,” which means God with us. “Jesus Lord at Thy birth.” We sing, “The virgin sweet boy is the Lord of the earth.”  We sing, “Word of the Father, now in flesh appearing.” “How that in Bethlehem was born the Son of God by name.” “God with man is now residing, suddenly the Lord descending.” We sing, “Thou didst leave Thy throne and Thy kingly crown when Thou camest to earth for me.” And we often sing, “And the Father gave His Son, gave His own beloved one.”

Luke 1:35, the end of the verse, calls the child ahead of time, “the Son of God.”  Matthew 1:23 says ahead of time that the babe will be called “Emmanuel, God with us.”  Luke 2:11 calls the newborn, “Christ the Lord.”  Joseph and Mary were hearing that their new child would be God.  Yes, God.

2.  Jesus Is a Man

We sing, “Holy infant so tender and mild, word of the Father now in flesh appearing. See Him in the manger lay. Veiled in flesh, the Godhead see. What child is this who laid to rest on Mary’s lap is sleeping,” just like any other baby. “The babe, the son of Mary.” One writer says, “But of lowly birth didst Thou come to earth in greatest humility.” Another says, “He was born of David’s line, offspring of the virgin’s womb, pleased as man with men to dwell, Jesus our Emmanuel.”

Luke 1:31 says that this infant was “conceived in the womb” of Mary, when this is the same description for the birth of John the Baptist to Elizabeth.   Luke 2:6 says, “And so it was, that, while they were there, the days were accomplished,” or the days were fulfilled, “that she should be delivered.”  While they were in Bethlehem, the days were fulfilled. That is to say her nine-month pregnancy had run its course.  The normal nine-month period had taken place. While this is a very normal birth, it is not a normal conception. Jesus Christ was conceived by the work of the Spirit of God but He was born through the normal processes of the body of Mary.  In Luke 2:12, it is a baby wrapped in strips of cloth, lying in a manger.  He was a man.

3.  Jesus Was SinlessÂ

We sing, “O morning stars together, proclaim thy holy birth?”  And don’t we sing, “Holy infant so tender and mild?”  And then, “Radiant beams from Thy holy face? O holy child of Bethlehem, descend to us, we pray.”  We sing, “But in Bethlehem’s home was there found no room for Thy holy nativity?” Yes, we are still amazed that the child was sinless.

All other children were born in iniquity and in sin did their mother’s conceive them (Psalm 51:5).  Not Jesus.  He was sinless.  That’s the child that Joseph and Mary anticipated.

4.  Jesus Is Sovereign King

We sing, “Joy to the world, the Lord is come, let earth receive her king. Joy to the earth, the Savior reigns, come and behold Him, born the king of angels, come adore on bended knee, Christ the Lord the newborn king.”  And, “Hark the herald, angels sing, glory to the newborn king.” And one writer says, “Born a king in Bethlehem’s plain, gold I bring to crown Him again, King forever ceasing never, over the world to reign.” “This, this is Christ the King.” “The King of kings salvation brings, let loving hearts enthrone Him. Born to reign in us forever, rule in all our hearts alone, raise us to Thy glorious throne, come and worship, come and worship Christ the Lord the newborn King. For the manger of Bethlehem cradles a King. Peace on earth good will to men, from heaven’s all gracious King.”

Matthew 1 and Luke 3 lay out the royal genealogy of the baby in Bethlehem.  And his parents were expecting that, as seen in Luke 1:32, 33.  That’s right, they were looking for the one who would reign over the throne of David forever.  He fulfilled the Davidic Covenant in 2 Samuel.

5.  Jesus Is Savior

We sing, “To you in David’s town this day is born of David’s line the Savior who is Christ the Lord. Joy to the world, the Savior reigns. Peace on earth and mercy mild, God and sinners reconciled. Born to raise the sons of earth, born to give them second birth. Then let us all with one accord sing praises to our heavenly Lord who hath made heaven and earth of naught and with His blood mankind hath bought.” Another carol says the “King of kings salvation brings.” Another one, “Good Christian men rejoice with heart and soul and voice, now ye need not fear the grave, Christ was born to save. Christ was born to save.” Another one says, “Remember Christ our Savior was born on Christmas day to save us all from Satan’s power when we were gone astray.” “Thou comest, O Lord, with the living word that shall set Thy people free, but with mocking scorn and with crown of thorn, they led Thee to Calvary.”

You remember that the angel said to Joseph that he should be called “Jesus.”  Why?  “For he shall save his people from their sins” (Mattew 1:21).  In Luke 2:11, we hear that a “Savior is born.”   This child would be the “salvation” that Simeon was looking for in Luke 2:30 and the “redemption” that Anna foresaw in Luke 2:38.

Can you imagine what would happen if the world just listened to the words they sang at Christmas time?  It’s no wonder that the public school wants to stop kids from singing Christmas songs.  They give a powerful presentation of the Lord Jesus Christ.  Oh that they would believe those words!  Oh that we would more strongly consider them and adore our Savior during this year’s Christmas season!

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