by Linda Veath
I love Christmas songs, but I’ve noticed over the years that there’s a pattern in the way I listen to them.
Early in the season, as I’m gearing up for the hustle and the bustle, I’m energized by Trans Siberian Orchestra and Mannheim Steamroller. Then, when I have cookies to bake, shopping to do, and gifts to wrap, it’s the classics like White Christmas, Sleigh Ride, Silver Bells, etc. that motivate me. Finally, as Christmas Day draws near, I find comfort in the old-fashioned Christmas carols.
So, why is it that I find comfort in the carols? Exactly what are Christmas carols? Carol comes from a word that means “song of joy or praise” or “to sing joyously.” A carol, especially a Christmas carol, is a song of religious joy, focused mainly on the birth of Jesus. And that’s why the carols bring comfort.
So even when I’m alone, I still have Jesus. Even when I’m unable to put up a Christmas tree, I still have Jesus. And no present is ever needed but the gift of Jesus!
Below are excerpts from three of my favorite carols [all bold mine]. They remind me that God is not dead or sleeping. That right shall prevail. That we need to pause in our activities to hear the angels sing. And that when we pause in the quiet of what Christmas is all about, God enters in, blessing us with His gift of Jesus.
I Heard the Bells on Christmas Day (vss. 3 & 4)
And in despair I bowed my head:
“There is no peace on earth,” I said,
“For hate is strong and mocks the song
Of peace on earth, goodwill to men.”
Yet pealed the bells more loud and deep:
“God is not dead, nor doth He sleep;
The wrong shall fail, the right prevail,
With peace on earth, good will to men.”
It Came Upon the Midnight Clear (vs. 3)
And ye, beneath life’s crushing load,
Whose forms are bending low,
Who toil along the climbing way
With painful steps and slow,
Look now! for glad and golden hours
Come swiftly on the wing
O rest beside the weary road
And hear the angels sing.
O Little Town of Bethlehem (vs. 3)
How silently, how silently
The Wondrous gift is given!
So God imparts to human hearts
The blessings of His heaven.
No ear may hear His coming;
But in this world of sin,
Where meek souls will receive Him, still
The dear Christ enters in.
Then I heard every creature in heaven and on earth and under the earth and on the sea, and all that is in them, singing… ~ Revelation 5:13 NIV
As we sing the songs of Christmas this year, may our focus always be on the true joy and peace of Christmas — Jesus Christ.