Tuesday, December 06, 2005

The Theology of Christmas Carols... I


O' Holy night, the stars are brightly shining
It is the night of our dear
Savior's birth

Long lay the world In sin and error pining
'Til He appeared and the soul felt His worth
The thrill of hope,
The weary world rejoices
For yonder brings a new and glorious morn

Fall on your knees
Oh, hear the angel's voices
O' night divine
O' night when
Christ was born
O' night divine O' night, O' night divine


During the Christmas season we sing or hear all the songs but how often do we really think about what we’re singing? Until Christmas I thought it would b fun to think about some of the songs we sing in celebration of Christmas. I’ll try to blog about one song at a time for the next couple weeks.

“Long lay the world in sin and error pining…”

In Genesis chapter 1 it says that “God saw everything that He had made and it was very good.” This is how the Bible starts… EVERYTHING was very good. All the “sin and error” doesn’t come in until Genesis chapter 3. We forget that sometimes, don’t we? We find ourselves hopeless… praying that God would relieve us by taking us away from this weary world. The main theme of scripture between Genesis 1 and 2 and Revelation 21 and 22 is God’s and man’s efforts to reconcile the world to God and to return or repent to the abundant life before sin and error came in. When we lose sight of this, we lose hope.

What we are celebrating, when we celebrate Christmas, is the birth of a savior; the coming solution to the problem. The World before Jesus was hopeless and ignorant of it’s worth to God. It was in need of a savior.

“…'til He appeared and the soul felt his worth.”

There is an epidemic of hopelessness in the world, now, not because it’s still in need of a savior but because it doesn’t know that it has one. When Jesus came He defeated and forgave all sin, not just the sins of people who ask for forgiveness but for everyone. He freed the world from the sin and error pining (or obsession) but we still, so often, live like we are still enslaved. Because of this there is still work to be done… the work of healing or implementing what Jesus did. The reality of this work… the reality that there is still so much wrong in the world can leave us hopeless. But in Jesus there is hope. The message of Christ is filled with hope that it will not always be so bad… the work will be finished.

“The thrill of Hope…”

This is a song of pure and joyous hopefulness… the greatest kind. A hope that the world which is so weary still rejoices in the truth that we are free from this obsession with error. Now we must join in the rejoicing.

“The thrill of hope, the weary world rejoices for yonder brings a new and glorious morn.”

On that holy night the world rejoiced in their future and we now rejoice in the present reality that is sometimes so hard to see. We rejoice and we celebrate the hope we have. This is a song of hope.

What is truer than the melody of a song? So we fall on our knees and hear that truth… the truth of celebration and adoration, of and for the King who came to save.

"Fall on your knees
Oh, hear the angel's voices
O' night divine
O' night when Christ was born
O' night divineO' night, O' night divine"

So now, when you sing thins song may you be filled with hope of the reality of the redeemer.

2 comments:

Ashley said...

Wow, I have never looked at this in this way. When you talked about the line "Til He appeared and the soul felt His worth" I was awe struck with how true it is. Great post!!! Looking forward to more Christmas carol theology!

Danny said...

"On Christmas Eve in 1870, during the Franco-Prussian War, a French soldier leaped out of his foxhole in the midst of the battle and began singing the carol 'O Holy Night.' He was soon joined by other Frenchmen, and all gunfire ceased. The Germans answered with a carol of their own, and for one day the battle stopped and men on both sides celebrated Christmas."

-From "Stories Behind the Great Traditions of Christmas" by Ace Collins.