Most would agree, it’s the most wonderful time of the year. The radio stations have been playing the songs since August. Stores have been capitalizing and monopolizing on the season since the summer. It’s Christmas…and even the most devoted follower of Jesus can get distracted and swept away in all the hustle and bustle. Nevertheless, it’s also that time of year the world has the opportunity to experience the simplicity of the season. That peace came in a very unexpected way blowing the minds of those who received him then and continuing that in our lives today. As our world seems to get more busy each and every year, it becomes our role as Jesus followers to constantly ask ourselves how we can continue to penetrate our culture with the gospel and how it can continue to blow minds and saturate hearts.
A few weeks ago when I “legally” began listening to Christmas music (post Thanksgiving only), I was asking myself this same question when God prompted my heart to a secret weapon that is already immersed deep within our culture and world. It’s hard to turn on a classic Christmas movie or see any special on television, walk in any store without experiencing it. What is this trojan horse allowing us to share the gospel with millions this Christmas? It’s the powerful story of Jesus wrapped through the medium of Christmas carols.
There’s something about Christmas carols that warms heart, feeds nostalgia of a simpler, peaceful time, and I think God in his infinite wisdom is laying on the hearts of boys and girls, mothers and fathers, and family gatherings around the world the sweet message of salvation in Jesus, by grace alone, through faith alone. Let’s look at some popular Christmas carols and ponder how outreaching this message is this holiday season.
Hark the Herald Angels Sing reminds us that Jesus was God and took on human flesh. The Apostle Paul told us that “there is one God, and one mediator also between God and men and that God was reconciling the world to Himself.” This carol makes it plain that “Christ by highest heaven adored; Christ the everlasting Lord…Veiled in flesh the Godhead see, Hail the incarnate Deity.” Through the singing of this carol our children and children around the world are told who Christ is and we are given our proper response.
Joy to the World allows us to joyfully sing “Let earth receive her King: let every heart prepare Him room.” We know through the hearing of this song the responsibility and opportunity for each person in the world to embrace Jesus Christ not only as Savior, but also as King.
God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen comforts us that true comfort and joy come from knowing that “Jesus Christ our Savior” was born “to save us all from Satan’s power, when we were gone astray.” And isn’t that the story of every Christ follower? We were human, crippled by sin, and guilty of disobedience and rebellion against God. But be not discouraged…“God so loved the world that He sent His only Son, and whoever believes in Him, shall not perish but have everlasting life.” And that is good tidings to all who hear.
Who can have Christmas without hearing Silent Night? We can experience peace with God. The world, “in sin and error pining” (O Holy Night) can experience that same peace. We deserve death – we have hope for peace. In this song we utter from our lips “radiant beams from Thy holy face, the the dawn of redeeming grace.” And that’s the fundamental reason Jesus came, so that we might be reconciled and restored. Peter said it best, “There is salvation in no one else, for there is no other name under heaven that has been given among men by which we much be saved.” The world is singing this in different languages all over the world and remains without hope “till He appeared and the soul felt His worth” (O Holy Night).
While I am well aware that not everyone, everywhere, every time is feeling the full weight of the message of these songs, let’s not underestimate the powerful medium of music to rest words on the soul, and certainly not diminish the power of God unto salvation for all who hear to have any less life altering potential. The life changing message of Christ and the power of the gospel is permeated throughout the whole world. Sing these songs (and many others) in your homes, in your churches, go caroling in a nursing home or your neighborhood, roll your windows down and turn up the radio, by all means necessary find creative ways to integrate these songs as a part of your season. And may the peace of Christ continue to spread all over the world one Christmas carol at a time.