Posts Tagged "Christmas"

December 23 – O Holy Night (A Christmas Carol Advent)

2 MORE DAYS UNTIL CHRISTMAS!

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History

“O Holy Night” was originally a French carol (“Cantique De Noel”) was penned as a poem in 1847 by Placide de Roguemaure based on his interpretation of what it would have been like to be present at the birth of Christ based on the account in the Gospel of Luke.  The music was composed by Adolphe-Charles Adam.  It

Commentary & Analysis

The first verse of this famous Christmas Carol capture the state of the world prior to the birth of Christ (“Long lay a world in sin and error pining”) and at the birth of Christ (“for yonder breaks a new and glorious morn.”)  I am always struck in the first verse of this song by the juxtaposition of the thrill of hope and a weary world.  We live in a world tainted by sin that does not work the way God created it to work.  We live in a world that, for the most part, rejects its creator.  We live in a world of natural disasters, terrorist attacks, lie, cheating, stealing, death, tears, anguish and indescribable pain.  I think weary captures the tenor of this world and those of us who live in it.  We are worn out by the grind, by the pain, by the longing for something better.  In a lonely manger, in a small town, without human fanfare, a small child was born.  That child, Jesus, was the Son of God sent to absolve us of our sin by his death on the cross.  That child was, and is, the hope of the world.  The only appropriate response we can offer to the gift of a savior is to fall on our knees in worship and adoration – it was a holy night indeed!

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December 22 – Come And Worship (A Christmas Carol Advent)

3 MORE DAYS UNTIL CHRISTMAS!

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History

This song based on the Hymn “Angels from the Realms of Glory” was written by Bebo Norman for his Christmas CD entitled Christmas…From The Realms of Glory. That CD was released in 2007.

Commentary & Analysis

This month, we have looked at Christmas from the standpoint of shepherds, wise men, Mary, and a spectator in Bethlehem, amongst others.  This song tells the story of Christmas from heaven’s perspective.  The first verse speaks to the angels from creation to proclaiming the Messiah’s birth.  The chorus is a call to the only rightful response to the coming Messiah – one of worship.  In the second verse, we see a heavenly view of the shepherds.  Rather than  focusing on the awe and wonder of the shepherds, this verse recounts what the shepherds were privileged to see – the very light of God come in infant form to live with his creation.  The final verse looks forward to Christ’s second coming when his work shall finally be completed and his eternal kingdom established.  This song places Christmas in its rightful position in God’s larger story from Genesis to Revelation.

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December 21 – Mary’s Boy Child (A Christmas Carol Advent)

4 MORE DAYS UNTIL CHRISTMAS!

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History

Mary’s Boy Child was written by Jester Hairston in 1956 and recorded by Harry Belafonte that same year.

Commentary & Analysis

This one is a little more offbeat as Christmas songs go, but I love the very first line in that it reminds us of our source of all truth when it comes to Christmas.  No matter what society tries to change the holiday into, not matter what fallacies have come to be accepted because of their inclusion in Christmas songs, no matter how many stories are written are about Santa Claus and his elves, the only real source of information on Christmas is the Bible – “..so the Holy Bible say.”

This song presents Christmas in its simplest terms, a baby (Jesus) was born in a manger in Bethlehem to Mary and Joseph on Christmas Day.  Through his life, and death, we are reconciled to God, conquer death and live forever in his presence.  The angels announced the coming of this eternal King to lowly shepherds.

Questions for further Reflection / Devotion

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December 20 – The First Noel (A Christmas Carol Advent)

5 MORE DAYS UNTIL CHRISTMAS!

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History

This carol is a traditional English Christmas Carol dating from the 18th century.  It was first published in its current form in 1823.

Commentary & Analysis

This song reflects on three of the preeminent events that people think of when they think of Christmas.  First, of course, is the birth of Christ.  “Born is the King of Israel” is the final line of each and every verse.  The first two verses discuss the angels’ appearance to the shepherds in the fields outside of Bethlehem to announce the birth of Jesus.  Although this song is fairly faithful to the biblical account, there are a couple of items in the first couple of verse which are not in the original stories.  First, there is no indication that it was a “cold winter’s night” on the night when Jesus was born.  Although many of here in the west dream yearly of a “white Christmas,” the Bible gives no indication of the weather on that historical night.  Secondly, although they may have seen it, the Bible does not indicate that the Shepherds noticed the star which later guided the wise men to Bethlehem.

The final three verses of the song deal with the wise men from the east that came to see Jesus.  Although much has been made of the wise men that came to see Jesus, and numerous songs have been written about them, the entire biblical account of their visit is as follows:

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December 19 – Mary’s Song (Breath of Heaven) (A Christmas Carol Advent)

6 MORE DAYS UNTIL CHRISTMAS!

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History

Written by Chris Eaton, and performed by Amy Grant, this song first appeared on Amy Grant’s second Christmas album titled Home For Christmas released in 1992.  On a personal note, it ranks as one of my favorite “contemporary” Christmas songs.

Commentary & Analysis

This song is written from the perspective of Mary.  Mary was a young woman told by an angel that she would give birth to the Son of God.  She was a young woman who traveled many miles on foot and donkey to travel to Bethlehem to be counted for the census.  Although not based on the biblical account, this song is an interesting account of what it might have been like.  Starting with the question as to why she might have been the one chosen and moving on the fear that Mary must have felt being the mother of Christ to questioning whether she was the right person for the job, this songs reflects on the range of emotion which Mary may have gone through ultimately crying out for God to be with her.  Interestingly, the only thing the Bible tells us about Mary’s reaction was in her immediate response “Behold, I am the servant of the Lord; let it be to me according to your word.”

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