BY REV. DR. BRANDON MORROW - GOOD NEWS COMMUNITY CHURCH
Bah-humbug! That's my general feelings around Christmas songs, Christmas hymns, and most music that has to do with Christmas. A little Scrooge-y? Perhaps. Whatever the reason for my disdain for Christmas songs, I've grown to appreciate them this year. In a year where it's been nothing but disappointing, we need lyrics that can act as balm for our weary souls. We can't help but also mention the sheer theological depth that these songs contain within their verses. As much as I want to turn down the dial or change the station, I need to be reminded of what it is that I believe to be true about Our Savior King, Jesus — and the lyrics we find in these classic songs are enough to captivate us with goodness.
You've likely heard the hymn, "What child is this?" If you haven't, I can't save you from the spoiler alerts any longer because it was written in 1865! Biblical theologian Fleming Rutledge says we better be paying attention to the words we're singing when we engage in the typical holiday singalong. What child is this? The chorus answers it for us: "This, this is Christ the King." I fear we can sing through the chorus and miss entirely what we've professed with our mouths to be true about Jesus. Do we actually know what we're singing?
I fear that we barely care to scratch the surface of what it is that we're singing. If we'd take a minute to delve into the matter a little more intently we'd know that what we've just sung is some of scriptures' most sacred, prized words about the Savior who we celebrate on Christmas Day. Babe in swaddling clothes? No room for Him in the inn? Narrowly escaping death ordered by a deranged king? How about Him clothed in majesty? Seated on the throne at the right hand of the Father? Or the once-and-for-all defeat of death through resurrection?
Let's take a look-see at some of those lyrics, again.
What child is this? Certainly the One who is due of all honor and praise. (Haste, haste to bring Him laud) What child is this? The incarnate God who dispenses mercy. Even though we've all been through our fair share of nonsense this year, 2020 was still manageable because Jesus came for us and did all that He said He would do. (The King of kings salvation brings.)
What child is this? The One whom our hearts revere. (Let loving hearts enthrone Him.)
This must change the way we'll sing it on Christmas Eve. It might still be out of tune when it comes out of your mouth, but now your mind and heart are in sync no longer dismissing hymns that should be mined of their riches, but cherishing words that point us back to the One who is worth singing about.