I've been thinking about how my favorite Christmas songs are the ones with some immediacy to them. I like babies, including the baby Jesus, but I don't really get excited about celebrating the birth of a baby so much. I like the ones where we think about what His condescension means for us now, and what it means when He will return.
There are so many wonderful Christmas carols in the world that carry a lot of that meaning for me, but for this post I've decided to stick a little closer to home, to the Christmas hymns I'm most familiar with. Here are my favorite lyrics from each of the 14 Christmas hymns in the LDS hymnbook.
#201: Joy to the World
No more will sin and sorrow grow, nor thorns infest the ground. He comes to make the blessings flow far as the curse is found.
#202: Oh, Come, All Ye Faithful
Sing in exultation
#203: Angels We Have Heard on High
And the mountains in reply, echoing their joyous strains
#204: Silent Night
Love's pure light radiant beams from thy holy face with the dawn of redeeming grace.
#205: Once in Royal David's City
And our eyes at last shall see him, through his own redeeming love.
#206: Away in a Manger
Fit us for heaven to live with thee there.
#207: It Came Upon the Midnight Clear
And the whole world send back the song which now the angels sing.
#208: O Little Town of Bethlehem
In this world of sin, where meek souls will receive him, still the dear Christ enters in
#209: Hark! the Herald Angels Sing
Light and life to all he brings, ris'n with healing in his wings.
#210: With Wondering Awe
The heavenly star its rays afar on every land is throwing, and shall not cease till holy peace in all the world is growing
#211: While Shepherds Watched Their Flocks
Goodwill henceforth from heaven to man begin and never cease
#212: Far, Far Away on Judea's Plains
Hasten the time when from every clime, men shall unite in the strains sublime: Glory to God in the Highest. Peace on earth, goodwill to men
#213: The First Noel
surely there is a third verse somewhere that has some meaning. I like this song but the lyrics in the hymnbook are meh (to my standards).
#214: I Heard the Bells on Christmas Day
The world revolved from night to day
Then let us all with one accord sing praises or something to our Lord. Is a nice Noel lyric. Has some application to today. Or would, if I quoted it correctly.
Anyway. I really appreciate the opportunity Christmas music gives us to think about Christ more. Christ, His life, His sacrifice. What we can give Him, poor as we are, in return for the marvelous gift.
Finally, I can't let the post end without mentioning this special song, Carol of Joy. I mean, talk about immediacy. "Oh fearful world, to you is the song." In the bleak midwinter when we hear carols, listen to the music, understand the lyrics -- our hearts open to the Savior. That's what I love about Christmas music.
But I don't have anything to say about it that my cousin Megan hasn't already said. Read her words. Be in awe of her talent and sad that you don't even get complete sentences in my posts all the time.