Posts Tagged "Christmas"

December 18 – Hark! The Herald Angels Sing (A Christmas Carol Advent)

7 MORE DAYS UNTIL CHRISTMAS!

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History

This song was written by Charles Wesley and first appeared in print in 1739.  The opening verse was originally written as “Hark! how all the welkin rings / Glory to the King of Kings.”  The version sung today is different from Wesley original tune mainly due to alterations made by George Whitfield who worked with Wesley.  This song is considered one of the “Great Four” Anglican Hymns.

Commentary & Analysis

This song covers many of the same items as previous songs in this Christmas Carol Advent, and rather than regurgitate many of the same themes covered with those other songs, I thought it might be fun to simply go through this entire song and add verse references and support to the lyrics shown below. So, with just one more week until Christmas, here we go…

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December 17 – Babe in The Straw (A Christmas Carol Advent)

8 MORE DAYS UNTIL CHRISTMAS!

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History

Babe in the Straw is performed by the Christian group Caedmon’s Call.   Like Manger Throne (featured earlier in the month), this song first appeared on the Christmas album titled City On a Hill: It’s Christmas Time released in 2002.

Commentary & Analysis

This song is written from the perspective of someone observing a fragile, innocent, little baby lying in a manger and wondering how that baby could really be the Son of God sent to change the world.  This is a struggle felt ‘round the world by billions of people over the last 2,000 years as they look upon Jesus and wonder, “could it really be?”

The first verse asks, “Have you come to redeem us?”  Has this little baby, asleep in manager, really been sent by God to redeem his people?  It seems so unlikely, but in the currency of God who works through the unimaginable, there was really nothing to be surprised by.  The second verse answers the question posed in the first verse.  This is the “Prince of the Universe” that the prophets of old had spoken of who would come to save God’s people.  The third verse is more of a prayer recognizing that we will lose our way and asking Christ to always guide us back to him.  In our lives, when we start to wonder, we should ask God to draw us back to Bethlehem, draw us back to the cross, draw us to the empty tomb – Draw us to Jesus!  The Bible assures us that if we draw near to him, he will draw near to us. (James 4:8)

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December 16 – Go Tell It On the Mountain (A Christmas Carol Advent)

9 MORE DAYS UNTIL CHRISTMAS!

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History

“Go Tell It on the Mountain” was written as an African-American spiritual song by John W. Work.  The carol dates back to the 1860’s and has been performed by a number of gospel performers over the years.

Commentary & Analysis

This song starts with the scene of the shepherds watching their flocks outside Bethlehem when suddenly a light from heaven appeared and angels came to tell them of the birth of their savior and ours (Luke 2:8-15).  The chorus of the song rings out with joy about the good news of Jesus Christ and echoes the feelings that innumerable people have had upon learning what Jesus Christ has done for us – “Go, Tell It On the Mountain, Over the hills and everywhere.”  We are called to spread the Good News of Jesus Christ to those who do not know him (Matthew 28:19-20).

The third verse recounts the story of Jesus’ birth in a manger (Luke 2:13).  It also reminds us that lying in that humble manger was the savior of all mankind (Acts 16:31).  The fourth verse reminds us of the lostness we felt prior to accepting Jesus as Lord.  Finally, the fifth verse reminds us that we should never be proud in our standing as Christians.  We are called by God out of his grace, and the only appropriate response to that is one of humility.

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December 15 – Christmas Hymn (A Christmas Carol Advent)

10 MORE DAYS UNTIL CHRISTMAS!

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History

Written by Amy Grant and Michael W. Smith, A Christmas Hymn first appeared on Amy Grant’s first Christmas CD appropriately titled “A Christmas Album.”  It was released in 1983.

Commentary & Analysis

This modern day hymn written by Amy Grant and Michael W. Smith captures the majesty of Christmas and the redeeming work of Christ.  The song begins with a reminder that the coming of Christ to die for our sins was the ultimate demonstration of God’s love (John 3:16).  In coming to take on human flesh, Christ left his throne as King of Kings and Lord of Lords to be born as a baby in a manger.

One minor issue I have with this song comes in the second verse that proclaims “All creation praised him.”  Indeed, at some point in the future every knee shall bow (Romans 14:11), but when Jesus came the Bible is clear that he came to his own and they did not know him (John 1:11).  Perhaps they had something else in mind when they wrote this verse, but at his first coming all of God’s creation did not praise him.

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December 14 – O Come O Come Emmanuel (A Christmas Carol Advent)

11 MORE DAYS UNTIL CHRISTMAS!

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History

This song is a translation of the Catholic Latin Text Veni, Veni Emmanuel by John Mason Neale in the mid-1800’s.  Veni, Veni Emmanuel may date back to the 8th or 12th century.

Commentary & Analysis

This song is steeped in theology.  The verses of this song all follow the same pattern.  The first line of each verse introduces one of the names or descriptions of Christ:

  1. Emmanuel [Matthew 1:23]
  2. Lord of Might [Isaiah 9:6]
  3. Rod of Jesse [Isaiah 11:4]
  4. Dayspring [Luke 1:78]
  5. Key of David [Revelation 3:7]
  6. Wisdom from On High [James 3:17]
  7. Desire of Nations [Psalm 96:3]
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