Dec 5 04
December 5, 2004
“…read their hymns”
It has been said that if you want to know what the Methodists believe, “read their hymns.”
That is true, but especially our carols. Look at the titles: Love Came Down at Christmas, Joy to the World, Angels We Have Heard on High.
But they not only have catchy titles, they are full of meaning and deep theology.
Gift of the Father…(That Boy-Child of Mary) lets us know that Jesus came from God’s initiative. God is the great seeker.
…late in time behold him come, off-spring of a virgin’s womb. Veiled in flesh the God-head see; hail th’ incarnate Diety, pleased with us in flesh to dwell, Jesus, our Emmanuel (Hark! the Herald Angels Sing) helps us to see the plan of God. The holy God was pleased, not coerced, to become one of us, to be human, to live like us. Not just for the kicks of it, or to have a new experience, but his coming to us had a very important and divine purpose:
Light and life to all he brings, risen with healing in his wings. Mild he lays his glory by, born that we no more may die, born to raise us from the earth, born to give us second birth. (Hark! the Herald Angels Sing). Born that we no more may die! That death is the eternal death of separation from God. God came looking for us to bring us home.
Is it any wonder that Mary sang: Luke 1:46-55
No wonder Zechariah burst into song: Luke 1:68-79, that the angels sang to the shepherds (Luke 2:14) and that Simeon sang when he saw the infant (Luke 2:29-32).
Is it any wonder that the Psalmist encourages us to burst out in song:
What song are we singing? Are we singing about gloom and doom? Are we singing “Woe is me?” Or, is our song:
Joy to the world, the Lord is come!
Let earth receive her king;
let every heart prepare him room,
and heaven and nature sing!
Monday, December 6, 2004
Read the songs associated with the Christmas Story: Mary’s song: Luke 1:46-55; Zechariah’s song: Luke 1:68-79; the angels song: Luke 2:14; Simeon’s song: Luke 2:29-32. Have you ever noticed before the number of songs in Luke? Is it any wonder that the Christmas Carols are so popular? Some themes that these songs have in common are: praise to God and God’s action in the past and present. Can you think of others? How do their songs of praise guide our thoughts and prayers this holiday season?
Tuesday, December 7, 2004. Find your voice today. Sing the grand carol Angels We Have Heard on High and allow the powerful words to flood your heart. Imagine yourself in the pasture with the shepherds and the choir of angels suddenly appearing with the news of the birth of God’s king. Can you imagine how they felt hearing the angels announce the birth of the savior? Can you keep from joining in Gloria, in excelsis Deo!?
Wednesday, December 8, 2004. Again find your voice. Sing one of the best known of Christmas Carols O Come, All Ye Faithful. Pay close attention to verse 2: True God of true God, Light from Light Eternal, lo, he shuns not the Virgin’s womb; Son of the Father, begotten, not created. This verse takes several phrases right from the Nicene Creed that was written the settle the issue of the divinity and humanity of Jesus. Think about what it means to know that the Eternal One became subject to life in our world. What would it be like to leave the intimate presence of the Father and the Holy Spirit to come to a world of suspicion and mistrust? Knowing what he did for us on the cross, can we keep of saying: O come, let us adore him, Christ the Lord?
Thursday, December 9, 2004. There is no doubt that music is a powerful force. It sets the tone in almost all our movies. Music can signal us to be afraid in certain scenes and have other emotions later. Israel sang when the passed through the Red Sea (Exodus 15). Isaiah tells Israel to sing for God is doing new and great things. (Isaiah 12). Read the songs of Revelation chapters 4 and 5. Worthy is the Lamb that was slain to receive glory and honor and power. Luke starts us in the manger with an infant, and Revelation takes us to throne of God where sits this one who shunned not the virgin’s womb. Join in the song of the four living creatures and the 24 elders.
Friday, December 10, 2004. Psalm 98. Scripture inspires most of our best hymns. Psalms 98:4-9 inspired one of the most beloved carols. Issac Watts, in the early 1700’s wrote what has becomes a holiday favorite: Joy to the World. “Make a joyful noise to the Lord…break forth into joyous song and sing praises”: Let heaven and nature sing! “He will judge the world with righteousness and the peoples with equity”: He rules the world with truth and grace and makes the nations prove the glories of his righteousness and the wonders of his love. Allow the words of Psalm 98:1 O Sing to the Lord a new song…lead to verse one of the song: Joy to the world, the Lord is come!