It’s that time of year again. The familiar melodies of Christmas songs echo through the aisles of almost every store and fill the airwaves of what seems like every radio station. They also serve as the comforting, festive background music to many families as they decorate for the season or bake dozens of Christmas cookies.
It’s that time again in church when the worship team leads the congregation in familiar choruses that have been sung for years, “Silent Night” or “O Holy Night.” We have all heard these songs thousands of times and perhaps have sung along with them just as much! They’re so familiar and so it is easy to just sing out the notes and words without a conscious thought. I know I find myself doing it. They’ve been the background music to the Christmas season all my life.
But this past weekend, my heart did a double-take. I was working out, my comprehensive Christmas playlist pumping through my earbuds. I was going through the motions, singing along to the words when one of my favorites, “O Holy Night” began to play:
O holy night the stars are brightly shining
It is the night of our dear Savior’s birth
Long lay the world in sin and error pining
Till He appeared and the soul felt its worth
That last line stopped me dead in my workout. Not joking. I stopped moving and my jaw dropped open and though I had heard that line a thousand times, it was as if I had really heard it for the first time. I was floored. I grabbed my phone and hit the back button to start the song over again.
We, the world, lay in sin and error pining. Coated in the muck of our sin, muddling through life. Till He appeared and the soul felt its worth.
Jesus came to earth, God incarnate, and that is when the soul, the core of who we are began to realize what we were worth. When God came to dwell with us on earth, making a way for us to be with Him again, is when the earth felt it deep down – hope restored. The long-distance relationship with Heaven was no more. And it was nothing we did or earned…it was all His move, completely out of pure love. The next line of the song is:
A thrill of hope, the weary world rejoices
For yonder breaks a new and glorious morn!
Jesus coming to earth changed everything. God loved us so much to intervene Himself and give up His only son – for us! He wasn’t going to abandon us to an eternity apart from Him. Jesus’ birth allowed the world to lift their heads and dare to hope again – to see it with their own eyes, to hear it with their own ears. To hear the angels of Heaven declare the sacred holiness of that night, imploring us to fall on our knees, to stop and soak in the magnitude of what the birth of a little baby in a manger meant.
God didn’t have to do anything. As David asks in Psalm 8:4, “What is mankind that you are mindful of them, human beings that you care for them?”
The little baby in a manger speaks of a God who loved His people so much – knowing the only way to save them was to send His own blood to cover the payment for sin, and then doing it without hesitation.
He looks upon your face and without blinking an eye, without a sigh or pause, declares, “Yes. You, my child, are worth it all.”
In His eyes you will find grace and acceptance. You will feel the warmth of the deepest love you could ever imagine. You will feel your worth.
These Christmas songs are rich with the truth and depths of God’s love. They declare the absolute miracle that is Christ’s birth. How it breaks my heart that I gloss over the words and beautiful melodies without a second thought.
Do I even realize what it is I am singing?
I challenge you the next time a Christmas classic comes on the radio, or you sing it in church or in your house while you bustle around: just stop. Close your eyes and really listen. Think about the words you’re singing and maybe ask yourself why you’re singing them. Are you just going through the motions? Do you just like the sound of the melody? Or do you feel the weight of the words you’re singing out? Do they ring out from your heart and your very soul, alight with the hope that came to this world that night in Bethlehem?
Really listen and think about it.
The hope and the depth of truth these songs declare will blow you away.
First published on http://emilywerness.com/