Suddenly a great company of the heavenly host appeared with the angel, praising God and saying, “Glory to God in the highest heaven, and on earth peace to those on whom his favor rests.”
I love Christmas carols and songs. I love music, so why wouldn’t I love the great songs of the season? Yes, I love the traditional carols. But I also value and appreciate many of the newer more contemporary Christmas songs.
Personally, I feel music and sung words bring about great meaning to the Christmas story. When the company of angels appeared to the shepherds, we don’t actually know if they sang. Scripture says they were praising God. But don’t the words, “Glory to God in the highest heaven, and on earth peace to those on whom his favor rests” sound better sung than simply spoken?
On the radio, we often hear Christmas songs and carols beginning the day after Thanksgiving, running right up through Christmas Day. And then they stop. Not a Christmas Carol to be heard.
I find this rather interesting, in that Advent purists (of which I’m not), insist upon only having Advent songs in worship during Advent. Christmas carols are not to be sung in worship until Christmas Eve and going forward.
This is another divide between secular and some Christian cultures. Just when secular culture is done with Christmas carols, some churches are finally beginning to sing Christmas carols in worship!
What I found interesting is that the Madison Christian radio station played all Christmas songs for a couple weeks before Christmas, including secular songs such as “Up on the Rooftop” and “Here Comes Santa Claus.” During this time, they promoted that after Christmas listeners would continue to hear uplifting music and had a few sound bits of a few popular contemporary Christian songs. On Dec. 26th, the radio station switched to all contemporary Christian music.
Personally, I love Christmas songs before, during and after Christmas. With a lack of Christmas songs on the radio in the true Christmas season, I popped in a CD in the car this week. I’m not ready to have them disappear for another year yet. In fact, we’ll be singing lots of Christmas carols this Sunday at Midland UMC.
When the angels came to the shepherds, they were so excited to share the good news. Whether it was sung or shouted, it doesn’t matter. It was fantastic news. The shepherds were so moved by their angelic voices that they quickly decided to seek out the baby. And find him, they did.
Like the angels, the shepherds were so moved by the new baby that they had to shout it out to everyone that they saw. Did they do it in perfect four-part harmony? Hardly. My guess is that these shepherds probably didn’t have perfectly trained singing voices. But their message certainly was filled with joy.
When the church is darkened on Christmas Eve and the ushers light a candle off of the Christ candle and then dispense of the flame to everyone in worship, my breath is taken away. As I strum “Silent Night” on the guitar and watch the flickering flames dance across the church’s ceiling, I want to freeze this moment. I don’t want the song to end. I want to hold everyone for a moment longer so we can be deeply moved by the moment, the song’s words, the deep feeling I pray others also have in their bellies. In those moments, I want to be able to sing Christmas carols every day of the year. And why shouldn’t we? I think there would be a heavenly chorus that just might join in.
Let us pray: Silent night, holy night, shepherds quake at the sight. Glories stream from heaven afar, heavenly hosts sing “Alleluia!” Jesus, Lord, at thy birth. Jesus, Lord, at thy birth.