I was raised in a home where the traditional North American Christmas was a big deal. My mother still does a lot of decorating and gift buying (no matter how many times we tell her she “doesn’t have to get us anything!”). She loves to give gifts, she loves to play Christmas music (beginning Nov. 1 and continuing to New Year’s Day).
We had a large number of Christmas records in our home and an old record player which you could stack, so that the LPs would play one after the other. There were days in my childhood where the Christmas music was continuous from morning to night. The songs of Christmas have been indelibly stamped on my memory.
Because they are tied to the Christmas season, the hymns of advent and Christmas have been persistently sung in our churches and even the wider culture for hundreds of years. It always fascinates me that people will listen to the message of Christmas in music, often unconsciously giving praise to the unique Saviour that Christians believe in. Of course in recent years, secular “carols” have come to the forefront, obscuring the message and meaning of Christmas. But music remains attached to this season like no other holiday.
What is the true song of Christmas? This advent season we’ll be looking at the “songs” we see in the Old Testament prophets and in Luke’s account of Jesus’ birth. The style of prayer-songs (psalms) that we discovered in our Prayer is the Answer series was alive and well in Jesus’ time. Our Sunday mornings from Nov 30 – Dec 21 will focus on four songs: of the prophets, Zechariah, Mary, and Simeon.
On Christmas Eve, we’ll hear about the song of the Angels. The wonderful and amazing thing about these songs is how they communicate God’s message and mission as it relates to Jesus and his being born as a human being. Mary’s song reminds us of the true wonder of Christmas: “Oh, how my soul praises the Lord. How my spirit rejoices in God my Savior!”
There is a song to be sung at Christmas – a song of praise to God our Saviour for coming close to us in Jesus Christ. Our prayer as your pastors is that you and your family, as well as our community, would hear the good news announced in the songs of Christmas.