As the sights, sounds and smells of Christmas fade for another year, there are certain aspects of the festive period that should remain with us, and not be pushed away in the loft with the decorations.
The fundamental truths of our Christian faith, which form the basis of so many of the songs sung with enthusiasm during the Christmas period, are something we ought to hold on to, as they’re not just for Christmas, but for all time.
I wonder how many of those, who gustily sung the following in recent weeks, really understood and appreciated the significance of the words they sang.
‘Light and life to all he brings risen with healing in His wings … And our eyes at last shall see Him, through His own redeeming love ... Now ye need not fear the grave: Jesus Christ was born to save ... This day hath God fulfilled His promised word, this day is born a Saviour, Christ the Lord, … who hath made heaven and earth of nought, and with His blood mankind hath bought ... See the tender Lamb appears, promised from eternal years ... So God imparts to human hearts the blessings of His heaven ... Thou its light, its joy, its crown. Thou its sun which goes not down’.
These, and so many more nuggets of golden truth, bringing the Gospel message, are interwoven through the majority of the Christmas carols, and they’re worthy of our serious consideration. The importance of the Gospel message is emphasised by the apostle Paul when he writes ‘This is a true saying and everyone should believe it: Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners' (1 Timothy 1:15).
Over the Christmas period I realised again how familiarity with the carols we sing can so easily cause me to overlook the meaning of the words I’m singing. The final verse of ‘In the bleak mid-Winter’ poses a thought-provoking and challenging question: What can I give Him, poor as I am?’
The real answer comes in the last line. Unfortunately I’ve often heard this sung as a repeat of the question in the first line—‘What can I give Him?’ But the last line is actually written as a statement of fact: ‘Yet What I can, I give Him, give my heart’. It’s important not to miss out the word ‘I’.
This carol, along with so many others, gives us the opportunity to reflect on God’s plan of salvation for the world. We can then move from a place of questioning to a place of whole-hearted commitment to the One who came to be our Saviour.
Prayer: Dear Lord, Thank You so much for coming to earth to save me. Help me to know You better, and to help others move from a place of uncertainty to a place of assurance in You. Amen.