I teach several choir classes at a Christian
school, and after our concert, I put my students to writing their own
Christmas carols. I encouraged them to set new words to existing
songs, although at least one group has composed their own music.
I often write some sort of poetry for Christmas, but this year I
started a carol so I could show my students what to do.
Every year the tensions over the celebration of
Christmas seem to increase, but I think serious Christians have been
troubled by the encroachment of the world and worldly attitudes for a
very long time. For me, having also been a refugee tutor for
several years, the selfishness and increasing materialism seem
especially striking, as I consider the impoverished circumstances from
which many of my students come.
Jesus had it all, and he gave it up to become a
man, a poor man, and a man who would die to complete his divine
purpose. The magi didn’t give each other gifts, they brought
gifts to this humble child, and proably they failed to recognize that
nature of his kingship. Not only aren’t kings usually born like
this; they don’t usually die to provide for their subjects.
Immanuel, God with us, Jesus, Savior, Messiah, Redeem, Delivere, and
the Lamb who would be slaughtered–all reveal the remarkable nature of
his coming, and our celebrations have a tendency to avoid those truths
in favor of sentimentality, tradition, and merriment.
“Joy to the World,” “God Rest Ye Merry,
Gentlemen,” and “Hark, the Herald Angel Sing” reveal a depth of joy
that ought to silence much of the shallowness that passes for
merriment. I have written, previously, that I don’t think Jesus
minds that we have fun, but festivity alone totally misses the point,
as does much of our annual gaity, each year. I suspect that the
angry protests in reaction to those who resent the Christian message of
Christmas also miss the mark. Our job isn’t to defeat sinners
when they act sinfully; it is to reach out to them…to bless
them. That is why we have been blessed and allowed to remain
among them, after all…to bless them.
Speaking of Christmas carols, I decided this year
would be a good year to read Dickens “A Christmas Carol.” His
message is far deeper and more spiritually profound that many of the
dramatizations. It is available on-line in a number of places
like this one
Christmas Blessing: A Carol to the tune of “Like a River Glorious”
Presents, lights, and laughter thrill each girl
“Christmas is for children”—that’s what we have
Lost the sacred message from God’s holy Word.
Blest to be a blessing, gifted we should give;
Avarice forsaking, gracefully to live.
Parties, shallow customs, sentimental myth
Take the place of Jesus born, God’s greatest
By a virgin mother, father most divine,
Birthed in humble stable, yet King in David’s
Abba gave His blessing, gave His only son,
In the incarnation, Jesus, first-born One.
endless power, might and right his own,
Came a simple baby, human flesh and bone;
Walked this earth till manhood, simple teacher
God with us, Messiah, died on Calvary’s
Blest, the Son of heaven, lowly Son of Man,
Let go Godly essence to carry out the plan.
Savior and example, awesome King of all,
Bore the stain of sinners, cursed by Adam’s
Rich He shed His life’s blood, bought the gift
Sacrificed to purchase and save the human race.
Blest, the greatest blessing, ever any gave,
When the Child of Mary lay in a chilly grave.
‘Tis a festive season, false our Christmas joy,
If the cross’s blessing seems a helpless boy.
Angel hosts of heaven praised the Prince of
May our Christ-like giving to honor Him ne’er
Christmas is a blessing, if we don’t forget,
The death of God incarnate, the bestest present