Christmas, maybe more than any other time, is a season where people say things they don’t mean. Sometimes this is innocuous and for the sake of politeness: “Yes, of course I need a sweater with Santa in a motor home! Thank you!” or “I absolutely don’t think it was too much for you to put a 9 foot inflatable snow globe on your front lawn. It looks awesome!”
Other times, though, it’s more surprising. Take the example of Christmas carols. These songs have some of the most deeply rich theological lyrics:
“Hail! The heav’n born Prince of peace!
Hail! The Son of Righteousness!
Light and life to all he brings,
risen with healing in his wings.
Mild he lays his glory by,
born that man no more may die:
Born to raise the sons of earth,
born to give them second birth.
Hark! The herald angels sing,
‘Glory to the newborn King!’”
Or this one:
“Silent night, holy night!
Son of God love’s pure light.
Radiant beams from Thy holy face;
with the dawn of redeeming grace,
Jesus, Lord at thy birth.
Jesus Lord, at Thy birth.”
Or maybe this one:
“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.”
These are beautiful lyrics. They are rich lyrics. And they are familiar lyrics. This season, don’t let the familiarity of the tune drown out the wonder of the words.