Wednesday, December 25, 2013

"The Carols"

     Imagine a life without music, devoid of melody, harmony, lyric, rhythm, tempo, and the beauty of song and singing.  Moreover, imagine Christmas without the carols that so beautifully sing to and of of the Baby born in a manger, who became the Man hanging upon the cross, who now sits upon the throne of creation as the risen King of kings and Lord of lords.

    Such contemplation offers a very dark and sorrowful imagining, which we can gratefully and quickly dismiss.  The musical God - "He will rejoice over thee with singing" - made music.  Or perhaps music has always been, eternally existing within our Lord's heart, even as His Spirit's presence elicits "singing and making melody in your heart to the Lord" (Zephaniah 3:17; Ephesians 5:19).  I suspect the latter is the case, which makes music all the more wondrous, while also revealing the reason for its capacity to touch us in the spiritual depths of our being.  I ponder this especially at this time of year, when the aforementioned carols sublimely grace our ears, and our hearts.

    "O come let us adore Him... the little Lord Jesus laid down His sweet head... sleep in Heavenly peace... it came upon a midnight clear... joy to the world, the Lord is come... peace on earth, and mercy mild... Noel, Noel, born is the King of Israel... this, this is Christ the king... o come, o come Emmanuel" - on and on we could recount the musical glories that 2,000 years after His birth still echo the welcome, "Yea, Lord, we greet Thee."  The carols "sweetly sing o'er the plains," and without their glorious strains, the joyous remembrance that accompanies the birth of the Lord Jesus would lose much of its beauty, wonder, and glory.  Doubtless, God made it to be so, meaning that the music of Christmas likely touches His heart even more than our own.

    The carols of Christmas, whether heard by our ears or sung by our hearts and tongues, sound with the eternally ancient glory of God that became "God... manifest in the flesh" (I Timothy 3:16).  They beautifully escort us back to Bethlehem, and then from Bethlehem to the "wonders of His love," as revealed in our Savior's earthly life, being, and doing.  We cannot imagine the season without them, nor should we.  Indeed, human hearts, minds, and talents penned the carols, and the same sing, play, and rejoice in them.  However, we will likely discover some day a Heavenly source and origin of the joyous anthems that sounded and resounded in the heart of God long before writers wrote, musicians played, singers sang, and the celebrants of Christmas rejoiced with "good tidings of great joy" (Luke 2:10). 

Sing and rejoice, O daughter of Zion: for, lo, I come, and I will dwell in the midst of thee, saith the LORD."
(Zechariah 2:10)

Weekly Memory Verse   
    Behold, a virgin shall be with child, and shall bring forth a son, and they shall call His name Emmanuel, which, being interpreted, is God with us."
(Matthew 1:23)

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