Christmas Carols are basically hymns or songs which tell the basic spiritual message of Christmas, that Jesus was God born as a human being into our world. Over the centuries, Christmas Carols were used as part of worship, and could even be heard in the cities and towns, as church-goers would travel to share the story of Christmas to friends, family, and virtually anyone in the community. Many church groups still go Christmas Caroling.
As I type this short devotion, I just finished caroling with a group of church members. We went to nursing homes, homes of some church members, and even sang to a member over the phone. I love this time because it’s really a spiritual, uplifting experience to see the joy in the eyes of so many! Tonight, I greeted someone I know, who is in the local nursing home. She is suffering from Alzheimer’s, but was receiving the music with joy. I put my arm around her shoulder and asked her to sing along with us. She smiled, and sang every single word of “The First Noel.” What a blessing it was to so clearly connect spiritually with a fellow believer who sometimes has trouble making connections!
We sang a couple dozen songs tonight including “Silent Night,” “Joy to the World,” “O Little Town of Bethlehem.” Two phrases kept jumping out at me (or rather into me) as we sang the hymns. They felt so important to the message we were conveying. From a verse of “Silent Night” was the phrase, “the dawn of redeeming grace.” It felt so amazing. Something new and amazing was dawning in the town of Bethlehem. And that new and amazing thing is grace that brings redemption, forgiveness, salvation to the people of God. That redeeming grace, I realized, has been placed within us by God. The spiritual darkness of the world could end with this new dawn! Singing those words tonight opened my soul in thanksgiving for what God is giving us. Grace. Redeeming grace.
The second phrase that I heard loudly and clearly tonight is from “Hark the Herald Angels Sing.” In that carol is the phrase, “God and sinners reconciled.” That’s what I want for Christmas, more than any electronic device, more than any sweet and savory treat, more than any special meal. I want to be reconciled to God. And I want to be reconciled to the people of God around me. Reconciled. Forgiven. Loved. Spiritually connected.
Redeeming grace! Yes, really, this is what I want for this Christmas this year: redeeming grace and reconciliation with God and people. Any other gifts are fine, icing on the cake, so to speak, but they will mean so much more if I receive redeeming grace and reconciliation for Christmas! Let’s pray for these gifts for each other. May we all receive redeeming grace and reconciliation in the greatest possible measure!