Christmas Carols also got their origin from copying pagans singing about their holidays. But it is one tradition for which I am very thankful. The carols we sing today were mostly written during the Victorian era when celebrating Christmas was popularized by Queen Victoria and Prince Albert.
Christmas Carols proclaim the birth of Christ and what that means for us. I have a new appreciation this year for those traditional songs we sing every year. They ring out the truth about Christmas. In the past, I have sung them, but I didn’t really soak in their lyrics. Songs like, “Oh come, All Ye Faithful”, “Away in a Manger”, “O Come, O Come Emmanuel” and “Hark! The Herald Angels Sing”.
I love the lyrics to “Hark! The Herald Angels Sing”. Charles Wesley a great evangelist wrote the lyrics to this song. It was first published in 1739. Wesley understood the gospel and all of its implications. Here is some of the truth he placed in this carol. God and sinners are reconciled. Christ is the everlasting Lord. Christ is veiled in flesh, but yet a part of the Godhead. He was pleased to dwell with men. He was born to give us second birth. He will bruise Satan’s head and erase what Adam did to the human race. This song doesn’t just recount the birth of Christ, but adds in what Christ did in coming.
Fortunately, over the years, Christian artists have come up with new Christmas carols that I have come to love. Amy Grant’s “Emmanuel”, Mark Lowry’s “Mary Did You Know”, Casting Crowns “While You Were Sleeping”. I am so thankful for the truth these songs recount also.
Of course, there are other Christmas songs that have become very nostalgic for me because they recall memories of decorating the tree with my children, baking cookies, opening presents on Christmas morning and more. Most of these songs have nothing to do with Christ’s birth. And to be honest, I preferred them over the carols because of their catchy tunes and the warm feelings they produced. I still enjoy them, I still listen to them and sing along.
But this Christmas, I’m trying to focus more on the songs that relay the truth. They help me to keep my focus on the true meaning of Christmas. When so much about this Holiday can be distracting and stressful. They have become a beacon of light for me. Carols are a way to rescue the Christmas that has been hijacked by the world.
I hope they will have new meaning for you too this Christmas as you prepare for the Holidays. May the truth of Christ’s birth bring peace to your heart this year.