Daily Dose, Dec. 25 — Sounds of the Season: Christmas Songs

LISTEN TO “O HOLY NIGHT”

In those days a decree went out from Emperor Augustus that all the world should be registered. This was the first registration and was taken while Quirinius was governor of Syria. All went to their own towns to be registered. Joseph also went from the town of Nazareth in Galilee to Judea, to the city of David called Bethlehem, because he was descended from the house and family of David. He went to be registered with Mary, to whom he was engaged and who was expecting a child. While they were there, the time came for her to deliver her child. And she gave birth to her firstborn son and wrapped him in bands of cloth, and laid him in a manger, because there was no place for them in the inn. (Luke 2:1-7) “Fall on your knees…O hear the angel voices.” As a musician and singer, this moment in the song reduces me to tears practically every time I hear it. I’ve known since I was little that there’s just something amazing that happens when powerful words are combined with a powerful melody. This Christmas song reinforces that belief in me! It’s important to remember that some of these beloved songs capture with poetic craftwork that miracle and the majesty that is Christmas. Consider the first verse to O Holy Night: “Long lay the world in sin and error pining, Till he appeared and the soul felt its worth.” If you’ve participated in Disciple Bible Study, you could say that this lyric describes Our Human Condition. It gets to the meat of the message of Emmanuel -- God with us. All of creation had been groaning for a Savior. The whole world -- all that it is and all that dwells in it -- was waiting for a rescuer. God sent just what we needed, and he named him Jesus. The thought of THAT reduces me to tears more than any song ever will. It also drives me to my knees. When we hear the lyric -- “Fall on your knees…O hear the angel voices” -- we may think of several things. This Christmas, I hope you’ll hold a couple of images in tension. I fall to my knees along with the shepherds who came and saw the tenderness of God on display in a newborn baby’s eyes and his cooing. At the same time, I fall to my knees along with the multitude in heaven who surround the throne of God in awe and reverence. Either way, I’m in just the right place when I’m on my knees before Christ. -- Rev. Brad Greene