The first Noel the angel did say
was to certain poor shepherds in fields as they lay:
in fields where they lay keeping their sheep on a cold winter’s night that was so deep.
As parents we strive to cultivate in our children a truth faith in Christ; we also fight against many cultural norms. It is a daily fight to keep materialism, egocentrism, and shallow worldviews out of our homes and hearts. This is precisely why yesterday’s church service pleased me so much. As we sang this beautiful Christmas hymn, I felt I was participating in my own culture, without having to fight against it. I was happy to participate in a typical custom and tradition – the singing of Christmas carols.
Noel, Noel, Noel, Noel
Born is the King of Israel
Whether your faith sustains you daily, or whether you only nominally believe, whether Christmas is for you a holiday full of presents, family and warm memories, or whether it is the fulfillment of God’s promises to bring His Son to help His people, if you celebrate Christmas, you most likely sing carols.
I was struck Sunday morning in church services by the sheer beauty of sharing something with the fellow believers around me, but also with those outside a religious context. I am not always happy with the lessons pop-culture throws at us spiritually, politically, and morally. Yet, today, God’s people are joyful in their sharing of this cultural tradition. However, in my mind, it is because of Christ we sing.
“Glory to God in the highest,
and on earth peace to men on
whom his favor rests.” Luke 2:14
The angels emerged on the scene, albeit a small, bucolic scene, praising God’s plan in marked contrast to popular culture. While the entire Roman world was benefitting from “pax Romana” the angels sang of an abiding, ancient, eternal peace. Their chorus resounded of a peace beyond political realms, and social boundaries. Sunday morning we stood next to other believers, professing His birth for the sake of our community and for the sake of the world. We sang of the peace of God.
And by the light of that same star
Three wise men came from the country far;
to seek for a King was their intent,
and to follow the star wherever it went;
Like the wise men, for many of us peace is an incomprehensible, distant thing.
“He came and preached peace to you who were far away and peace to those who were near.” Ephesians 2:17
The angels sang of both glory and peace. The joy and warmth of the season should be felt in this message – We thank God.
We share His gift of peace with all we meet.
As you love the holly leaves this winter, as you breathe deeply of spicy evergreens, may you breathe in and love His peace, whether you are far from Him now, or close enough to call Him Christ.