Carol of the Ages

Thomas Lemke

Christmas songs: Love 'em or hate 'em, you can't get away from them. They are as ubiquitous in this season as candy canes, Christmas lights, and those silly reindeer decorations you put on your car. They are a cultural staple from Thanksgiving to December 25th.

As Christians who acknowledge "the reason for the season," we have more cause to sing than most. The Incarnation of God the Son has been inspiring hymns since Mary was told of her role in His coming. In fact, in a display of Christmas spirit that puts Buddy the Elf to shame, the Gospel writer Luke records no less than three such hymns - namely from the lips of Mary, Zechariah, and Simeon.

Not to be outdone, Scripture records that Paul was big on hymnody as well, even singing with Silas in prison. You can bet there were songs we would consider Christmas hymns in their set, such as the Carmen Christi, recorded in Philippians 2, which features the line: "...Christ Jesus, who though he was in the form of God, did not count equality with God a thing to be grasped, but emptied himself, by taking the form of a servant, being born in the likeness of men." If that doesn't fill your heart with Christmas cheer, you've been spending too much time with the Grinch.

So this Christmas, in between covers of Last Christmas, harken your ears to the sounds of Christmas 2,000 years ago, which reverberate through time to us in the form of countless hymns written and sung through the ages. And as you do, pay attention to the shadow of the cross in the background, cast by the light of resurrection unto eternal life. In other words, the work of God for our salvation.

That's truly something to sing about.

Thomas Lemke is a member at Trinity Lutheran Church in Norman, Oklahoma. He is also cohost of the Higher Things® podcast - Gospeled Boldly.

Created: January 5th, 2016