There are so many wonderful things that come with the Christmas season, and Christmas music about Jesus has to be top of my list. I have to admit that I started streaming Christmas as my life’s soundtrack starting mid-November. I just can’t help myself. There’s something about the words of Christmas hymns and ancient chant-like melodies that stir my soul and wrap me up in wonder. It’s almost as if time stands still and calls us to remember, to reflect, and to ponder the goodness of God in His incarnation. As the weather changes outside and it gets (slightly) cooler, I’m reminded that God works in seasons and in rhythms. We’re now in the season where we remember how He stepped into our world and how He manifested Himself in the flesh so that we could know Him.
Hark the Herald Angels Sing
My favorite Christmas carol of all time is Hark the Herald Angels Sing. The reason I love this hymn so much is because while it’s so grand and majestic it is at the same time so visceral and so raw in its content. The paradox of majesty and humanity, God and man, are held together in this song so beautifully. It’s an invitation for us to see the mystery of God made man, to have our hearts enlarged by the God who descends to wear our skin and to save us.
Christ by highest heav’n adored,
Christ the everlasting Lord!
Late in time behold Him come,
Offspring of a Virgin’s womb.
Veiled in flesh the Godhead see,
Hail the incarnate Deity
The incredible picture presented to us in this portion of the hymn captures our very hearts. The writer is saying, “Come, see Him! Come and adore the One who is wrapped in flesh and is the Lord of all.” The wonder in this invitation is that though we may recognize a child, we have no concept of what it means to stare into the eyes of Christ the Lord. This is the incredible gift of grace that God would even identify with us so that we could see Him and so that we could know Him. This next portion of the hymn is some of my favorite lyric writing of all time:
Pleased as man with man to dwell,
Jesus, our Emmanuel.
Hark! The herald angels sing,
“Glory to the newborn King!”
Jesus, God with us
Amazing. God was pleased to dwell as a man with men. As Jesus lived among us He was the very presence of God. Emmanuel, “God with us,” is a name that carries both power and gentleness. It perfectly captures the grandeur of God, the Fatherly nature of God by stating that this God is WITH us. Why would God want to be with us? What is so incredible about us that God would choose to dwell with us in our humanity? The answer we find in the Christmas story and ultimately at the cross is that we are dearly loved. That’s why God was “pleased as man with men to dwell.” So in this Christmas season we remember the goodness of God in Jesus. We see and experience the wonder and majesty of God made flesh. We hear an invitation to come to Him, to fall upon His loving mercy and receive His gift of grace. And when we see Him and experience Him afresh, we will sing together with the saints and the angels, “glory to the newborn King.”
Julie Anne Vargas is the Creative Director of Village Hymns. If you’re a worship leader interested in getting involved with Village Hymns, please email [email protected] or visit our website at villagehymns.com/get-involved. Read other articles by Julie Anne Vargus at goodnewsfl.org/author/julie-anne-vargas/