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The Riches of the Carols

Christmas drum with music


by Beverly Brown, Set Me Free Ministries Prayer Coordinator 

'Tis the Season. As I write this, I am listening to a "Contemporary Christian" music station. They have been playing songs that were sung by men and women who never professed the Christian faith and many who openly disdained the very Jesus they were singing about. And so, I began to ponder the irony of this. How can someone sing such beautiful carols as "Silent Night," "O Holy Night," or "It Came Upon a Midnight Clear" without the words penetrating their hearts?

There are many passages in the Bible that address this problem. Ezekiel 12:2, for instance, states: "Son of man, you are living among a rebellious people. They have eyes to see but do not see and ears to hear but do not hear, for they are a rebellious people. Isaiah 6:9 speaks prophetically: "… Go and tell this people: 'Be ever hearing, but never understanding; be ever seeing but never perceiving.' " And in Matthew 13:14, we see Isaiah's prophecy fulfilled: "In them is fulfilled the prophecy of Isaiah: 'You will be ever hearing but never understanding; you will be ever seeing but never perceiving.'"

Yet how many of us sing those same songs with our mouths but not with our hearts? Can I challenge you this Christmas to let the words of these great carols revive or refresh your faith that may have grown cold by the cares of this world? Read with me these words penned by Edmund Hamilton Sears in 1849 and set to music by Richard Storrs Willis ten years later. Perhaps you will find yourself singing along!

It came upon the midnight clear,
That glorious song of old,
From angels bending near the earth,
To touch their harps of gold:
"Peace on the earth, goodwill to men

From heavens all gracious King!"
The world in solemn stillness lay
To hear the angels sing.

Still through the cloven skies they come,
With peaceful wings unfurled;
And still their heavenly music floats
O'er all the weary world:

Above its sad and lowly plains
They bend on hovering wing,
And ever o'er its Babel sounds
The blessed angels sing.

O ye beneath life's crushing load,
Whose forms are bending low,
Who toil along the climbing way
With painful steps and slow;
Look now, for glad and golden hours
Come swiftly on the wing;
O rest beside the weary road
And hear the angels sing.

For lo! the days are hastening on,
By prophets seen of old,
When with the ever-circling years
Shall come the time foretold,
When the new heaven and earth shall own
The Prince of Peace, their King
And the whole world send back the song
Which now the angels sing.

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