my new favorite christmas carol…

did any of you grow up listening to christmas carols and really not have a clue what you were singing?  or never really sing farther than the first verse?  i did.  i mean, i knew that “away in a manger” was about Jesus sleeping in a stable and not crying when he awoke, and that “o come o come emmanuel” was about the jews longing to be free from the oppressive romans (ransom captive israel). 

but now that i’m older, i’m starting to realize how rich our christmas carols are.  not only is the language very rich, but the content is amazing!  and much of the richness is found by moving beyond the first verse of each song. 

take, for instance, “hark the herald angels sing” (which is my new favorite):

hark! the herald angels sing
glory to the newborn King
peace on earth and mercy mild
God and sinners reconciled
joyful, all ye nations rise
join the triumph of the skies
with angelic hosts proclaim:
christ is born in bethlehem!

mild He lays His glory by
born that man no more may die
born to raise the sons of earth
born to give them second birth
veiled in flesh, the Godhead see
hail the incarnate Deity
pleased as man with men to dwell
Jesus our Emmanuel

hail the heaven-born Prince of Peace
hail the Son of Righteousness
light and life to all He brings
risen with healing in His wings
Christ the highest of heaven adored
Christ the everlasting Lord
come desire of nations, come!
fix in us Thy humble home

(lyrics by Charles Wesley – actually i think the original original lyrics may differ slightly from those above…; modern melody composed by Felix Mendelssohn)

those carol writers really understood what was happening when Christ
came.  i don’t usually get it.  and for so many christmases, i
missed it.  i’m grateful they didn’t.

somehow now, when we sings these carols on Sunday morning, i really do see them as worship songs. 


8 thoughts on “my new favorite christmas carol…

  1. I know, I love this song and a lot of the others too. It’s always so great to see them pop up every once in a while in unexpected places. I think society can become desensitized to Christmas music, but you’re right, it really is so rich! When I hear this stuff in the grocery story its like “the mystery” is being sung right out in front of every one. Amazing. A bit convicting too 🙂

  2. that’s my favorite Christmas carol too! I love the “mild He lays His glory by…” verse. I had my qt on it the other day!Thanks Andrea!

  3. Yeah…a wry little smile appears on my face when I am out shopping in a mall decorated to celebrate a HOLIDAY. not Christmas…..but a HOLIDAY! Tee-Hee and then the “Holiday” music come on and it is all this stuff glorifying the Savior of mankind and the REASON we have our little “holiday”.
    So stealth! I LOVE IT!!

  4. my current favorite:O come, O come, Emmanuel,And ransom captive Israel,That mourns in lonely exile hereUntil the Son of God appear.RefrainRejoice! Rejoice!Emmanuel shall come to thee, O Israel.O come, Thou Wisdom from on high,Who orderest all things mightily;To us the path of knowledge show,And teach us in her ways to go.RefrainO come, Thou Rod of Jesse, freeThine own from Satan’s tyranny;From depths of hell Thy people save,And give them victory over the grave.RefrainO come, Thou Day-spring, come and cheerOur spirits by Thine advent here;Disperse the gloomy clouds of night,And death’s dark shadows put to flight.RefrainO come, Thou Key of David, come,And open wide our heavenly home;Make safe the way that leads on high,And close the path to misery.RefrainO come, O come, great Lord of might,Who to Thy tribes on Sinai’s heightIn ancient times once gave the lawIn cloud and majesty and awe.RefrainO come, Thou Root of Jesse’s tree,An ensign of Thy people be;Before Thee rulers silent fall;All peoples on Thy mercy call.RefrainO come, Desire of nations, bindIn one the hearts of all mankind;Bid Thou our sad divisions cease,And be Thyself our King of Peace.

  5. isn’t that so cool? i still remember the Christmas i really understood what the words to some of the carols i’d sung forever:He rules the world with truth and grace and makes the nations prove the glories of His righteousness and wonders of His love.

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