Why Do We Sing Christmas/Advent Songs?
Every year around this time we begin to sing songs and carols, all themed around the joy and cheer of Christmas, or the birth and coming of our Savior. As believers, which songs should we sing? Which ones should we focus on? Why do we sing these songs?
The answer is simple, yet beautiful.
We sing songs like "Deck the Halls" and "Here Comes Santa Claus" for one reason: Christmas cheer. I used to be against these kinds of songs, not because of their message, but I felt in my heart that the joy and happiness was manufactured, and not natural. Somehow people could be grouchy and negligent for 11 months out of the year, but when December came, everything would magically get better. It would annoy me, frustrate me. As I've grown older I have learned to be encouraged by the happiness that comes around Christmas time, but there is still a deeper joy and meaning to this time of year.
At Providence, we are starting our "Advent" series. Advent is the time in which we await the birth of our Savior. Yes, Jesus did come over two thousand years ago, so the "waiting" time that we observe is symbolic. We sing songs like " O Come All Ye Faithful", and "Joy to the World" as songs of remembrance, but also as songs of rejoicing.
Throughout the year we sing songs that have deep theological truths, such as "In Christ Alone"
"In Christ alone, who took on flesh
Fullness of God in helpless babe
This gift of love and righteousness
Scorned by the ones He came to save
'Til on that cross as Jesus died
The wrath of God was satisfied
For every sin on Him was laid
Here in the death of Christ I live"
Or songs like "Man of Sorrows"
"Silent as He stood accused
Beaten, mocked, and scorned
Bowing to the Father's will
He took a crown of thorns"
These songs are so faithful to tell us about the life of Jesus, and what He did for us. This attitude of declaring the truths of Scripture does not change around the Holidays. If anything, it should increase our confidence in what we sing and believe.
Let's take a look at a popular Christmas song and see what theological truths we can find:
"Yea, Lord we greet thee, born that happy morning
Jesus to the be all glory giv'n
Word of the Father, now in flesh appearing
O come let us adore Him, O come let us adore Him
O come let us adore Him, Christ the Lord"
These lyrics are from the ever popular "O Come All Ye Faithful". Let;s take it line by line
"Yea Lord we greet thee, born that happy morning". That line is simple enough, its a joyful greeting to the newborn king!
"Jesus to the be all glory giv'n". There is a two fold meaning to this line. One meaning is simply saying that Jesus deserves all the glory, because He is the lamb who takes away the sin of the world. The other meaning is a bit deeper. We know that Colossians tells us that "The fullness of God was pleased to dwell in Jesus". By that scripture, we can then take this line as a declaration that ALL of God's glory dwells in Jesus, all glory was given to Him. It wasn't a partial glory, or a half glory, but the scriptures tell us that the FULLNESS of God was pleased to dwell.
"Word of the Father, now in flesh appearing". This lyric tells us that the prophecies of the Old Testament of a coming Savior are fulfilled in Jesus. The scriptures told us there would be a king born in a manger in bethlehem, and He is now here. God's word never fails!
"O come let us adore Him, Christ the Lord". This lyric can be easily overlooked. It is simple, yet so profound. Yes, it is simply saying let's adore Jesus, but what it really is, is a beckon to your heart and affections. When you sing this lyric, it is an attitude shift. You are now singing to your own soul, saying, "Come, let us adore Him! He is Jesus!".
During this season of Advent at Providence, we will be rejoicing in the theological truths of the scriptures, and professing and declaring Christ and how he came to save the world from sin, was born in a manger, and fulfilled the prophecies of scripture. I pray that this post helps you join the chorus of believers who will be singing worship to the King during this season.
Soli Deo Gloria,