There are some Christmas lyrics that I just can’t make it through. We wait 11 months a year to sing them in church, and when we finally do, they catch right in my throat, and the words can’t come out because something overwhelms me deep inside.
Like this lyric from Hark the Herald Angels Sing. It’s a song that is supposed to be song joyfully, with gusto, but instead leaves me teary-eyed:
ʙᴏʀɴ ᴛʜᴀᴛ ᴍᴀɴ ɴᴏ ᴍᴏʀᴇ ᴍᴀʏ ᴅɪᴇ
ʙᴏʀɴ ᴛᴏ ʀᴀɪsᴇ ᴛʜᴇ sᴏɴs ᴏғ ᴇᴀʀᴛʜ
ʙᴏʀɴ ᴛᴏ ɢɪᴠᴇ ᴛʜᴇᴍ sᴇᴄᴏɴᴅ ʙɪʀᴛʜ
Every time I try to sing those lines, I get such complex emotions. It hits me every time. The realisation that the song is about Jesus – but it’s also about me.
We make birthdays all about ourselves; but Jesus’ birthday is all about what He means to everyone else. What He means to me. Because of His birth, I get to be born again. I was destined for wretched death, dead and buried in the horror that was my old self … only to be saved by His birth, death and resurrection.
I am unworthy. Yet He did all that for me. (And for you.)
Another line which always gets me is from O Holy Night. This is a bit less embarrassing because it’s a song which is known to make even big burly grown men weep:
ᴛʜᴇ ᴋɪɴɢ ᴏғ ᴋɪɴɢs ʟᴀʏ ᴛʜᴜs ɪɴ ʟᴏᴡʟʏ ᴍᴀɴɢᴇʀ
ɪɴ ᴀʟʟ ᴏᴜʀ ᴛʀɪᴀʟs ʙᴏʀɴ ᴛᴏ ʙᴇ ᴏᴜʀ ғʀɪᴇɴᴅ
There’s a line in the Bible which says, “What is man that God is mindful of us?” What are we? We are His creation. We are His sons and daughters. And, unbelievably, undeservedly, when God came to Earth as a man in Jesus, we are His friend.
Think of someone you think is a big deal. The Prime Minister. Elon Musk. Whoever. Now, imagine you look at your phone, and said person has just left you a message saying they’ve heard so much about you and they’ve been trying so hard to get a hold of you and would you like to just pop over for a chat some day … just like a friend.
Now imagine if that’s the King of Kings calling you His friend.
And finally, a recent addition: Mary Did You Know.
ᴍᴀʀʏ ᴅɪᴅ ʏᴏᴜ ᴋɴᴏᴡ
ᴛʜᴀᴛ ʏᴏᴜʀ ʙᴀʙʏ ʙᴏʏ
ɪs ʟᴏʀᴅ ᴏғ ᴀʟʟ ᴄʀᴇᴀᴛɪᴏɴ
This is thanks to an incredibly poignant, tender Christmas production by my church, where this song is used to flesh out that moment where Mary knows something is incredible is happening, but doesn’t yet know the fullness of what will happen.
I have held many a baby boy and girl … mostly my own. (Check out my bio below, I just had my fifth kid – pray for me.) So every day for the last 6 months I have held a newly-minted baby boy.
My boy is beyond charming – big saucer twinkling eyes and dimples like cubby holes. I love and adore him. I have the highest hopes for him.
But even better, even greater, even lovelier – one baby boy, born to Mary thousands of years ago, who could not merely charm every eye, make jelly every auntie’s heart, but save every soul!
I would die for my baby boy. But Mary’s baby boy would die for me.
Mary’s baby boy, Jesus: The Lord of all creation. The light of life to the world. Born to be our friend.
Dear reader, if you don’t know the Jesus Christ that Christmas is named after, this is what it’s all about. On Christmas, we celebrate in service and in song the birth of the One who can, will, and wants to give us eternal life. Every lyric details the true story of the moment where a weary world experiences
a thrill of hope;
the birth of a baby;
who would be the Christ;