The Christmas season is fully upon us now that we are in December! Shopping, baking, decorating — and singing Christmas songs. The radio stations are starting to play non-stop Christmas music, the shopping malls and grocery stores have it playing, and we’ve started singing the carols on Sundays at church.
You probably have most of the carols fairly well memorized, at least the first verse of each one. We sing them year after year, but do we really focus on what we are singing?
As someone who has been a church pianist/organist for many years, I often don’t get to read all the words to the hymns, since I’m paying greater attention to the music notes. But this year I’ve been able to enjoy actually singing the hymns — and reading and meditating on more of the beautiful words within each song of praise.
This morning we sang “It Came Upon a Midnight Clear” and I noticed the wonderful message of hope that is proclaimed in the third and fourth verses:
O ye beneath life’s crushing load, whose forms are bending low,
Who toil along the climbing way with painful steps and slow;
Look now, for glad and golden hours come swiftly on the wing;
Oh rest beside the weary road and hear the angels sing.
For lo! the days are hastening on, by prophets seen of old,
When with the ever-circling years shall come the time foretold,
When the new heaven and earth shall own the Prince of Peace, their King,
And the whole world send back the song which now the angels sing.
What a reason to rejoice this season!
Those who are weary and tired “beneath life’s crushing load” (aren’t we all at some point or another?) are called to rest and to hear the angels as they proclaim, “Glory to God in the highest!” And not only can we listen and rest, but we can rejoice in the hope that Christ will come again to redeem the world, which right now groans and travails in pain under the weight of sin. Some day, Christ will return and His glory will be revealed in full to all people of all time, and “the whole world [will] send back the song which now the angels sing.”
How marvelous a message that is for us, that the whole world will proclaim the glory of God!
That gives us reason to rest in Him. His purposes will not come to naught; He will accomplish what He has begun. He will be glorified, and because of that, we can truly“be still and know that [He] is God, [He] will be exalted among the nations, [He] will be exalted in the earth!” (Psalm 46:10).