When You’re Just Not Feeling the Wonder of Christmas

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By this point of the Christmas season, everything is coming to pass, or will soon come to pass. The office, school, church, you-name-it group parties; the last day of school before break, the church Christmas programs, the shopping, the shipping of gifts, the movie watching, the baking….

My brain hurts a little just thinking of the list of things to do and all the busy-ness we’re swimming through.

As you’re reading this, maybe you’re not feeling it. You’re just getting through Christmas. Well, I invite you to take a time-out from the things we often take part in during the Christmas season, and ponder the lyrics of the classic carols we love to sing about the story we know so well.

God rest ye merry, gentlemen
Let nothing you dismay
Remember, Christ, our Saviour
Was born on Christmas day
To save us all from Satan’s power
When we were gone astray
O tidings of comfort and joy,
Comfort and joy
O tidings of comfort and joy

Are you humming that centuries-old tune with me right now?

christmas gifts

“Rest ye merry”—rest assured and don’t be dismayed, everyone, whatever you face. Christ was born to save us all from Satan’s power. Now, that’s great stuff.

I’ve read that when Charles Wesley wrote “Hark! The Herald Angels Sing” back in 1739, he requested slow and solemn music for the lyrics. But I have to say I’m glad that’s not the way we sing it today! The message is anything but solemn to me, and the Gospel is wrapped up in this joyful message:

Christ by highest heav’n adored
Christ the everlasting Lord!
Late in time behold Him come
Offspring of a Virgin’s womb
Veiled in flesh the Godhead see
Hail the incarnate Deity
Pleased as man with man to dwell
Jesus, our Emmanuel
Hark! The herald angels sing
“Glory to the newborn King!”

Hail the heav’n-born Prince of Peace!
Hail the Son of Righteousness!
Light and life to all He brings
Ris’n with healing in His wings
Mild He lays His glory by
Born that man no more may die
Born to raise the sons of earth
Born to give them second birth
Hark! The herald angels sing
“Glory to the newborn King!”

The best gifts given to us by God, through Jesus—reconciliation, mercy, life, healing, second birth—are parts of this majestic song. If you’re not singing it by now (how can we not?), read the words aloud to yourself and let them sink in.

“O, Little Town of Bethlehem” shows me God’s grace and how He often works in my own life—silently, and I must but still myself not to miss that working. Phillips Brooks, an Episcopal priest from Philadelphia, penned the words to the song after a trip to the Holy Land in 1865. We know the first verse well, but the second and third are so touching.

How silently, how silently
The wondrous gift is given!
So God imparts to human hearts
The blessings of His heaven.
No ear may hear His coming,
But in this world of sin,
Where meek souls will receive him still,
The dear Christ enters in.

O holy Child of Bethlehem
Descend to us, we pray
Cast out our sin and enter in
Be born to us today
We hear the Christmas angels
The great glad tidings tell
O come to us, abide with us
Our Lord Emmanuel!

But my favorite out of all the carols is “O, Holy Night.” The melody starts softly, then builds to a peak. Those of us who sing in choirs wonder if we can hit that high note. Yet the words touch my heart, and as I read more about the song—a French poem—I was even more touched by the original translation from French, a bit different than what we sing today:

Midnight, Christians, it is the solemn hour,
When God as man descended unto us
To erase the stain of original sin
And to end the wrath of His Father.
The entire world thrills with hope
On this night that gives it a Saviour.
People kneel down, wait for your deliverance.
Christmas, Christmas, here is the Redeemer,
Christmas, Christmas, here is the Redeemer!

May the ardent light of our Faith
Guide us all to the cradle of the infant,
As in ancient times a brilliant star
Guided the Oriental kings there.
The King of Kings was born in a humble manger;
O mighty ones of today, proud of your greatness,
It is to your pride that God preaches.
Bow your heads before the Redeemer!
Bow your heads before the Redeemer!

The Redeemer has broken every bond:
The Earth is free, and Heaven is open.
He sees a brother where there was only a slave,
Love unites those that iron had chained.
Who will tell Him of our gratitude,
For all of us He is born, He suffers and dies.
People stand up! Sing of your deliverance,
Christmas, Christmas, sing of the Redeemer,
Christmas, Christmas, sing of the Redeemer!

As much as I love the lights, decorations, the baking, and the celebrations, when I ponder the message of Christmas in song, I start to love that message even more—the simple wonder of the miracle.

chocolate cookies

I pray you have a blessed Christmas in every way!

– Lynette Sowell

Photos: FreeRangeStock

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Lynette Sowell (13 Posts)

Lynette Sowell is the award-winning author of more than 15 titles for Barbour Publishing, Harlequin, and Abingdon Press. When she's not writing fiction, she chases down stories for her city newspaper and writes a weekly column, "My Front Porch." Lynette was born in Massachusetts, raised on the Eastern Shore of Maryland, but makes her home on the doorstep of the Texas hill country with her husband. Fond of all things coffee and chocolate, Lynette also loves to travel, read, try new recipes, dabble in crafts, and is always up for a Texas road trip.


Comments

  1. I loved this post Lynette! I sang along with the Christmas carols . Your cookies look oh so delicious.
    Your gift wrapping so perfect. The nativity is awesome. Thanks so much for spreading the Christmas cheer. I hope that you and your family will have a lovely blessed Christmas.
    Shirley

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