Celebrating Christmas without Christ is like a sugar rush.
The joyful holiday music with the catchy melodies and cheerful lyrics is addictive.
Together with the brightly colored lights, beautifully decorated trees and seasonal wreaths festooned with festive red bows, it all helps augment a celebratory holiday environment pulsating with excitement and anticipation.
Then Christmas Day arrives amid a flurry of rapidly shredded wrapping paper and flying gift bows.
That Yuletide chaos is punctuated by squeals of delight and beaming parents immersed in a few minutes of holiday glee at the sight of their mini-me’s making memories that last a lifetime.
Within a day or two the sentimentality rush from the holiday subsides and kids and adults alike wonder at the improbability of how fast the holiday came and went.
Psst…it doesn’t have to be that way.
With the right perspective Christmas can be the time where believers can experience the ‘thrill of hope,’ immerse themselves in the beloved ‘sweet hymns of joy’ and reflect on the child who taught us to ‘love one another.’
If you haven’t listened to the words of O Holy Night this Christmas, you should take a few minutes and treat yourself. As beautiful and inspiring as the music is, the lyrics are equally poignant and eloquent.
O Holy Night!
The stars are brightly shining
It is the night of the dear Savior’s birth!
Long lay the world in sin and error pining
Till he appear’d and the soul felt its worth.
A thrill of hope the weary soul rejoices
For yonder breaks a new and glorious morn!
(Chorus) Fall on your knees
Oh hear the angel voices
Oh night divine
Oh night when Christ was born
Oh night divine
Oh night divine
After hearing the lyrics and awe-inspiring music of O Holy Night, who isn’t willing to fall on their knees and praise His holy name?
The second stanza depicts the shining star of Bethlehem, the miraculous but humble birth of the Christ child and the arrival of the three wise men. Consider the last verse of the second stanza:
Led by the light of Faith serenely beaming
With glowing hearts by His cradle we stand
So led by light of a star sweetly gleaming
Here come the wise men from Orient land
The King of Kings lay thus in lowly manger
In all our trials born to be our friend.
Christ came into the world not only to intercede on our behalf with God the Father and forgive us our sins, but to encourage us to trust in Him and be our friend in all our trial and error experiences.
The scriptures teach us that Christ was born as a flesh and blood human because He loves us and so we might know Him better. He came to live life in our shoes and to experience temptation and human frailty as one of us.
For instance, Christ was fully human when he experienced numbing grief with the passing of his friend Lazarus.
As a human being Jesus endured the humiliation of being an innocent man ridiculed and mocked by His accusers; suffered through the spectacle of a public scourging, and the unimaginable pain of being nailed to a cross – all while enduring alienation from His heavenly Father.
During his brief three-year ministry Christ was the ultimate social justice warrior. He healed the sick, cured the lame, helped the deaf to hear and the blind to see. He assembled a rag-tag group of followers, ministered to thousands, fed the hungry and clothed the naked.
In short, he taught us by example to love one another.
Truly He taught us to love one another
His law is love and His gospel is peace
Chains shall He 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
As Linus reminds us every year in the Charlie Brown Christmas special, that’s what Christmas is all about. We just have to remind each other now and then by meditating on inspirational carols like O Holy Night.
Photo sources: bbc.co.uk, bibleinfo.com, 941thevoice.com, cdn.smosh.com
Copyright 2017, Dean A. George©