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, good will to men,
From heaven’s all gracious King!
The world in solemn stillness lay
To hear the angels sing.
There are so many stories great about Christmas. Some, like the traditional account from Luke Chapter Two, are repeated, word for word, every year and without variation; some, like Dickens’ Christmas Carol, are classics we keep returning to and reinterpreting; some, like the words from the carol, above, find their way into beautiful songs…
But most – and often these are the stories that touch our hearts the most profoundly – are the simple renditions that happen in the middle of regular life; when you stop for a moment, catch a hint of the message, listen more intently, and realize that what you can hear is nothing less than the angels’ song.
It’s that song – the angel’s song, as they “bend near the earth to touch their harps of gold” – that is the iconic Christmas image I want to talk about today, as we put the final touches on our preparation for the coming of the King. I want us to keep our ears open, to keep our eyes open, and to pay attention. Because it’s a song that our world tries hard to drown out, and the only way to keep it alive is for those of us who believe to listen more deliberately, to add our voices to the chorus, and to invite the world around us to hear it too.
the only way to keep [the song] alive is for those of us who believe to listen more deliberately, to add our voices to the chorus, and to invite the world around us to hear it too.
BONNIE & CLYDE: One awesome contemporary retelling of the story can be found in Rebekah’s message from this past Sunday, December 21. Her story begins at a long red-light on a busy day, where she was listening to Christian radio station for peace and perspective. That’s when “Bonnie and Clyde” pulled up beside her and drowned out her music with 200-decibels or so of heavy metal.
- Click here to find out what happened – “The Christmas Newsletter” – I can guarantee you’ll be glad that you did.
The point is that the angels weren’t just singing pretty words; they weren’t vocalizing for the sake of making a lovely sound; they weren’t putting on a concert. No, they came with a message, they came to say, “Don’t be afraid, we’ve got nothing but good news to share. God has sent you a Savior. Find the newborn baby and you’ll find your song. Glory to God in the highest heaven, and on earth peace to all people.”
That’s the message. Find Jesus and you’ll find your song. It’s the song the angels sang. It’s a song that can’t ever be drowned out, not by anything: Not by death nor by life, neither angels nor demons, not by our fears for today nor our worries about tomorrow—not even the powers of hell can separate us from God’s love. There is no power – NO POWER – that can every drown out this song; not in the sky above and not in the earth below. Fact is, nothing – NO THING – in all creation will ever be able to silence the song of the angles, nor can anything ever separate us from the love of God that is revealed in Christ Jesus our Lord. (paraphrased from Romans 8:38-39)
Now that, my Christmas Eve friends, is what I call a song!
In love, and because of love. Peace and promise – DEREK
(ps – enjoy Rebekah’s storytelling at Bonnie & Clyde)