There is something special that happens when I sing Christmas carols that gives me more joy than anything else during the Christmas season. I feel a little like Buddy the Elf – “The quickest way to spread Christmas cheer, is singing loudly for all to hear.”
I am not a particularly strong singer, but for whatever reasons, my sons don’t realize that. Every night, we sing, and sing, and sing. A few nights ago, I was rocking my son and singing Christmas carols to him. He was almost asleep as I brushed the hair off of his forehead and kissed his cheek. I continued singing as silent tears slid down my face – the words of those songs were so amazing that I couldn’t contain my emotions. In that moment, I was focused on the truest meaning of Christmas and I couldn’t help but be moved.
Here are some of the songs and lyrics that grip my heart and don’t let go:
Grandma Got Run Over By a Reindeer
Hark, the Herald Angels Sing
At one point in this song, there is a line that states, “God and sinners, reconciled.” Sure, I had heard this line before, but I had never really paid much attention to it. When I stopped to think about it, it is so powerful. We often think of Christ’s death and resurrection as our reconciliation with God, but it truly started when God sent his son to the earth as a baby. The process of reconciliation begins with the virgin birth. There is no way that we as humans can fathom what it must have been like for Jesus to willingly leave the glory of Heaven knowing that he would live his life on earth as both God and man to one day die for all of our sins.
Silent Night, Holy Night
This whole song is calming and reminds me of the moment after my children were born when it was just me, my baby, and my husband in the room. There was just this peace and sense of awe because the child that you had prayed for was finally here. Your new reality was setting in and your life would never be the same. I can’t help but wonder if Mary and Joseph felt the same way.
O, Holy Night
This song is amazing. We sang it in church this past Sunday and the tears were a-flowin’. The words that stick out to me are as follows: “Long lay the world in sin and error pining, ’till he appeared and the soul felt it’s worth. A thrill of hope, the weary world rejoices, for yonder breaks a new and glorious morn!”
I often get worked up over the state the world is in, but this reminds me that Christ came to conquer that. Our souls have always been worth it to Him and He came to earth to prove it. We have the thrill of hope because of what took place in Bethlehem and later on Calvary. Yes, we can feel weary, but we also have many reasons to rejoice.
Mary, Did You Know?
Regardless of Christmas, this is one of my all-time favorite songs. If you haven’t heard it, check out this chill-inducing rendition by Pentatonix.
So many thoughts run through my mind when I hear this song. I think of what it was like for me when I was pregnant for the first time. I was excited and scared – I had no idea the journey that was about to begin. I’m sure, like most women, Mary felt the same way. But, there are elements to Mary’s story that no one has ever experienced before. Whereas I was having a child that my husband and I created, Mary was about to give birth to a child that was placed in her womb by the Holy Spirit. Can you imagine what that must have been like? Mary and Joseph displayed incredible amounts of faith, but I would be willing to bet that few people believed that this was not Joseph’s child. Not only that, but when it came time for Mary to deliver, the only person with her was Joseph. Scripture tells us that Mary was a virgin when she gave birth to Jesus. That means that a man who had never physically known her had to deliver her baby – in a stable, surrounded by animals, in a town foreign to her. I don’t know about you, but that would make me feel so vulnerable and uncomfortable. When I gave birth, I had every amenity possible and I still felt extremely vulnerable and uncomfortable.
After she delivered, what was Mary thinking? Did she know who she was holding? Was she thinking about what it would be like to raise the King of Kings? One line in the song says, “Did you know that when you kissed your little baby, you kissed the face of God?” Unbelievable. No other woman has ever or will ever be able to relate to that. That imagery is so powerful.
Did she know that Jesus would one day perform miracles, that he would walk on water, and save the world? Did she realize that this was Heaven’s perfect lamb, the Lord of all creation? Did she know that she would stand at the foot of the cross and watch her son die for her sins, and my sins, and your sins?
Just like I have no way of knowing what my children will become one day, I also think Mary did not fully grasp what was going to happen. While she was raising the Son of God, Mary was still fully human. Mary trusted God with everything she had and she knew that He was in control even if she didn’t understand all that was going on. Perhaps it was best that she didn’t know all that would occur during Jesus’ 33 years on earth. At the end of the day, she was a mother doing her best to raise her son to become a man.
To me, Christmas carols are some of the most well-written and powerful songs out there. Singing these songs honestly does give me chills. I think of all these things that I mentioned and so much more. Christmas is such a wonderful time to reflect on the gift of salvation. It will always be the greatest gift that I have ever received!