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December 2023 Message From Pastor Mike: “Christmas Music and Meaning”

I believe it has by now been well established that I am not a musician. I can’t make music. I can’t read music. I don’t know what a treble cleft is or how to transpose an octave. In fact, I don’t really know what an octave is, except that it has something to do with eight notes.

I do, however, enjoy listening to music, and maybe because I don’t expend energy following the notes or keeping the rhythm, I tend to focus on lyrics, the words that give meaning to our worship music. As we en-ter this Christmas season, we will once again pull out favorite carols to hear familiar tunes and sing along with joyful refrains in celebration of Jesus’ birth.

So, let me draw your attention to a few of the most moving lines from some of our favorite Christmas songs, and maybe as you harmonize in glorious tones, you will also find new richness in the Biblical truths we sing.

From “O Little Town of Bethlehem” by Phillips Brooks:
The hope and fears of all the years
are met in Thee tonight.

Jesus came to fulfill God’s great promise to bring salvation to the world. Now, our highest hopes are realized and our deepest fears are settled through the grace we receive by faith in Christ. Micah 7:7 declares, “But as for me, I watch in hope for the Lord, I wait for God my Savior.” We bring Jesus our hopes and our fears, trusting that He alone will provide what our hearts need most.

From “Joy to the World!” by Isaac Watts:
No more let sins and sorrows grow,
nor thorns infest the ground;
He comes to make His blessings flow
far as the curse is found.

After Adam and Eve sinned in the Garden, God announced a curse against His good creation so that thorns and thistles would grow alongside fruitful crops, frustrating the work of our hands (Genesis 3:18). Jesus compared “the worries of this life and the deceitfulness of wealth” to thorns that keep us from following God’s word (Matthew 13:22). He came to remove the “sins and sorrows” we endure and to replace the curse with the blessing of His love.

From “O Come, All Ye Faithful” by Frederick Oakeley:
Word of the Father,
now in flesh appearing;
O come, let us adore Him.

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