We Shall Sing of Joy
By Jennifer Miller
Usually every Christmas, much to my dismay, I get the “blahs”. Sadly, I confess this, and I know this should not happen for a Christian. This is such a vital joyous occasion, so the “blahs” should not be a part of it. Allow me to expound a bit. I do feel the joy, but I am so tired of the commercialism attributed to this holiday. I am no Debbie Downer, but I just want people to see beyond the glitz and glitter of the holiday decorations and past the frivolous bids to draw us in just to increase yearly sales. This is a gift-giving time of year, but the gift we have been given is what I want to focus on today.
As a kid I always loved singing Christmas carols and “spreading the joy of the message” as opposed to the non-joy of hearing my voice. It was a celebration and an honor to sing these songs praising God. They are revealing to the world the message of the birth of Jesus and continue to do so to this day. Talk about the Word not coming back void or fruitless!
Do you have a favorite song? Do you make time to praise and honor God and our Lord Jesus by singing these songs? Are they just mere words or can you feel the weight of each syllable? We should praise Him at every opportunity we are given.
In Luke 2:8-20 we are told about the story of the birth of Christ. This chapter and verses are usually read every year faithfully by churches everywhere.
“And there were shepherds living out in the fields nearby, keeping watch over their flocks at night. An angel of the Lord appeared to them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were terrified. But the angel said to them, “Do not be afraid. I bring you good news that will cause great joy for all the people. Today in the town of David a Savior has been born to you; he is the Messiah, the Lord. This will be a sign to you: You will find a baby wrapped in cloths and lying in a manger.” Suddenly a great company of the heavenly host appeared with the angel, praising God and saying, “Glory to God in the highest heaven, and on earth peace to those on whom his favor rests.” When the angels had left them and gone into heaven, the shepherds said to one another, “Let’s go to Bethlehem and see this thing that has happened, which the Lord has told us about.”So, they hurried off and found Mary and Joseph, and the baby, who was lying in the manger. When they had seen him, they spread the word concerning what had been told them about this child, and all who heard it were amazed at what the shepherds said to them. But Mary treasured up all these things and pondered them in her heart. The shepherds returned, glorifying and praising God for all the things they had heard and seen, which were just as they had been told.”
Imagine our Savior, the King of Kings, coming to and arriving with a humble beginning, yet all of creation (mountains, seas, animals, shepherds, townspeople) acknowledges this auspicious beginning in which everything comes together as prophesied. The perfect birth, the perfect arrival (no need to go over the top or “show off”). Every detail was humble and full of praise to our Lord. Now let’s look at the testimony of these wonderfully written songs of praise. What do you hear when you listen to the lyrics of these songs? Ask yourselves and examine your heart.
Do you feel the “unspeakable joy” of Joy to the World? Can you imagine a weary world finding hope in O Holy Night? Do you see how O Little Town of Bethlehem proclaims the birth? This is the setting for the story. Do you feel the awe of the arrival as the Little Drummer Boy felt when he brought gifts for the baby? Do you hear the angels streaming from afar praising the birth in Silent Night? Can’t you just see the humble beginning portrayed in Away in the Manager or hear the angels greeting the shepherds and announcing the birth in the First Noel? Do you see the promise of reconciliation when you hear Hark the Herald Angels Sing? What about all of creation acknowledging the King in Angels We Have Heard on High? Did you notice the shepherds keeping guard and the angels greeting Jesus with sweet anthems in What Child is This? The theme of peace runs through the songs as well. In God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen and one of my favorites, I Heard the Bells on Christmas Day to mention a few. Can you feel the sadness of the singer when he sings about the hate in this world and the failure to recognize the hope that was just ushered in? God speaks in this song and the singer acknowledges not only His presence, but that “God is Alive and Doth Not Sleep.” Powerful and to the point! Can you feel the slight trepidation Mary must have felt when she first found out she was pregnant, but then joy entered, and can you imagine knowing you were carrying the Savior of our world as you listen to Breath of Heaven and Mary Did You Know? The wonderment of it all: seeing the miracles He would perform, the message He would feed us and sustain us with, and the sacrifice He would make to redeem and reconcile us with God. She would give birth to a King and then years down the road watch Him die for our sins. Can you describe the awe of the birth as well as Do You Hear What I Hear? Can you hear the King calling us in O Come All Ye Faithful asking us to give our life to Christ?
Christmas is for this very reason, not to give gifts or go to parties and visit Santa. I am not telling people to avoid gift-giving, but to rethink the gifts to give, celebrate for this purpose and with fellowship, take care of your brothers and sisters in need. Spread love and joy by telling the world the truth. A message we are commissioned to share with everyone. Possibly impact someone by sharing your journey – your testimony. Show the adoration due the King of Kings and praise Him before, during, and after the storms that come into our lives. This is such a fruitful opportunity to glorify His name.
This is the joy that fills my heart and the joy that I ask you to look for in your life. I have a Savior, a Defender, an Intercessor who watches over me. I have peace because of the joy and hope for a future. Play a song, go caroling and share the joy, but never forget the greatest love that was born from this. When you set priorities in your life to honor and worship God, the blahs may make an occasional appearance, but they never last. Focus on what lasts – what is eternal. Take care, God bless, and I wish each one of you a very Merry Christmas!