What We're Actually Listening To


Well, are you sick of it yet? The endless loop of Christmas music in every store and on every radio station and probably in your office too? At this point I’m still all about it. Alexa automatically plays her holiday playlist any time I ask for music and our For Glory & Beauty Playlist is almost always pumping through my headphones as I walk the city. Ask me again how I feel about it on December 26th and I might have a different opinion. But for now, I’m all in! (Speaking of all in, have you signed up to play Christmas bingo with us yet? It’s not too late to join in!)

I think until a few years ago, I had never really paid attention to the lyrics in Christmas music. Most of it really. They are so commonplace by now and we’ve heard them over and over for so many years that we can sing them in our sleep. Which is comforting somehow and also why we are missing out on so much! At least I know that I was. I remember that people would ask me what my favorite Christmas song was and I honestly wasn’t really sure. I never had an answer except that it was NOT Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer or The Little Drummer Boy. I did know that much for sure. I’m going to interject something here--if you’re a worship leader...PLEASE don’t include Little Drummer Boy in your Christmas Eve set! It really is the most awkward thing to sing. But that’s just one girl’s opinion. The point is, I do have a favorite Christmas song now because I finally paid attention to the words and I fell in love. Hands down my absolute favorite-- O Holy Night.

And no--not because I can hit that crazy high note. I can’t. Because of the depth of meaning in these lyrics and the way they strike my heart and bring tears to the edges of my eyelids every time I hear them or sing them.

I’ll keep this short and sweet I promise and let the music speak for itself. That is the beauty of music afterall.


O holy night the stars are brightly shining
It is the night of our dear Saviour’s birth
Long lay the world in sin and error pining
Till He appeared and the soul felt its worth
A thrill of hope the weary world rejoices
For yonder breaks
A new and glorious morn

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Fall on your knees
O hear the angel voices
O night divine
O night when Christ was born

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Truly He taught us to love one another
His law is love and His gospel is peace
Chains He shall break
For the slave is our brother
And in His Name
All oppression shall cease
Sweet hymns of joy
In grateful chorus raise we
Let all within us praise His holy Name

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Christ is the Lord
O praise His Name forever
His power and glory
Evermore proclaim
His power and glory
Evermore proclaim

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Fall on your knees
O hear the angel voices
O night divine
O night when Christ was born
O night divine
O night divine

I bolded a few of my favorite pieces though I could have easily put the whole thing in bold. I suppose I love this song so much because it is Christmas--the whole meaning--told in the loveliest of melodies. It’s as if someone put God’s heart and soul to song. It doesn’t get more Gospel than this. We often talk about songs and their theological soundess. This one hits the nail on the head and basically sums up the whole of Scripture in a few verses and a striking chorus.

I often try to imagine when I sing this song what it might have been like to live in those years just before that little baby showed up in Bethlehem. What it would have felt like to have waited and hoped for so long to only watch the world around me grow increasingly more evil and dark. I guess it’s not really all that hard to imagine because we are on the other end of that. Right back there where those people were. The world is dark and there is so much evil and violence and abuse and hurt. We often ask ourselves if it could possibly get any worse and we wonder where God is in the midst of it and what he is going to do about it. Just like they were waiting for the answer and the change and the light--for Jesus to come the first time--we wait eagerly for the return of His light. Of course it’s been here all along, but how much hope this song should give us! Because unlike them, we know that he already came! He already showed up just when we thought it couldn’t get any worse or any darker and when we thought all hope was lost--so surely he will show up again!

A THRILL OF HOPE

A tired and weary and hurting world rejoices because they understand that a new day has come. They understand that JESUS has come and everything has changed! They understand all of a sudden that they were nothing before this moment and that all of a sudden there is hope and there is light and there is a future! Oh what I would have given to experience that moment. The AHA moment when all of the dots were connected with a star in the sky and a tiny baby in a tiny town was born. That magic that we celebrate at Christmas is still alive and well and we can experience it each and every time that someone discovers Jesus and connects the dots and realizes that nothing will ever be the same. That they are alive and there is light and hope and a future. That moment that we sing about is SALVATION in its most magical, glorious, original form. But that lyric encourages me to look for that same Salvation--that same Savior even now!

And don’t even get me started on verse two! You guys know by now how passionate I am about ending modern day slavery and specifically sex trafficking. Has it ever been said any better? If we weren’t sure what God expects from us in regards to the oppressed and hurting--THIS is a summary of His heart once again! The slave is our brother and in HIS name--the name of JESUS--all of the chains and oppression will end. We should want that for our brothers because that’s what Jesus came to do. And might we remember that we were all once slaves, to sin, until that new morn when He came and broke our chains and set us free. That will give you a fresh perspective on the slave being our brother I would think!

Jesus literally came to free us from our sin and to teach us how to love. He came to be hope and light and life in a desperate, dark, dying world.

And I suppose this song reminds me that He’s still here to do that today and every day and He’s coming back soon--when the world can’t take anymore--He’ll show up. He’ll show up when we’re at our messiest and our darkest and our most broken and He’ll make it right. He’ll make us right. So won’t we hold onto that thrill of hope that is Christmas. That glorious morn that is God making Himself man and humbling Himself to live among us.

This song is the heart of Salvation.
This song is the heart of God.
This song is Christmas.
This song is my forever favorite.


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