The season of Advent is one of my favorites in the Liturgical calendar. It’s Christmas time!
This wonderful season of joyous spirits, warm sweaters, twinkle lights, warm fires, and exciting libations brings out different feelings and emotions for all of us. Some like to get a head start on the season, others enjoy a slower pace. But let’s define our common love for the Christmas season with one absolute understanding that should not be questioned or changed. Christmas decorations, music, movies, etc. are not to begin until AFTER THANKSGIVING!
You see, not only is the Liturgical calendar correct in defining the timing of the seasonal changes, but it is also merely following God’s design. Through the beauty of creation, we see clearly that the Tannenbaum cannot be cut down too early lest it lose its needles before Christmas day. Thus, the objective reality that Christmas begins after Thanksgiving is one of scientific law, and not open to interpretation. Those of us with higher intellect that now take advantage of modern plastic creations should not be tempted to display our celebratory fakeness too early regardless of its non-decomposing nature. With that forever settled and behind us, let us turn our attention to the best way to spread the joy of Christmas… MUSIC!
Christmas music is a relatively recent cultural addition. The vast majority of Christmas hymns came out of the dawn of the romantic period in the early to mid 1800s following the marriage of Prince Albert to Queen Victoria and the subsequent resurgence of Christmas celebrations formerly quashed by the Puritans. Most of the secular holiday classics were written in the late 1930s and 40s during the jazz age. (I encourage you to delve into the history of Christmas celebrations thru the ages in your spare time as it brings a very interesting context to the traditions we hold dear.)
The song “Sing We the Song of Emmanuel” comes to us from some of my favorite writers; Matt Papa, Matt Boswell, and Stuart Townend in 2015. It’s a song reminding us of the Biblical truth of Christ’s birth, calling us to bow down in worship, and inspiring us to proclaim his glory to all the world.
Christmas surrounds us with joy. The arrival of the Savior of the world! We can go back to the sin of Adam and Eve and find the first indication that Jesus was coming in Genesis 3:15. That was some 1500 years before His birth. Today, over 2,000 years later, we still get excited and wait in anticipation for Christmas! God has come to dwell with us. John 1:14.
Sing we the song of Emmanuel
This the Christ who was long foretold
Lo in the shadows of Bethlehem
Promise of dawn now our eyes behold.
God Most High in a manger laid
Lift your voices and now proclaim
Great and glorious, Love has come to us
Join now with the hosts of heaven
We live within the confines of time and space, yet we serve a God who’s not bound by time and space. He is from everlasting to everlasting, the Creator of the universe. But when Jesus was born, God stepped into our time and space. And oh, what a glorious event it was! In Luke 1 and 2 we see the magnitude of Jesus’s arrival into our space and time. It’s as if God has felt the anticipation as well. One could argue it was one miracle after another. It is not merely God showing off how glorious and powerful He is. He is putting in motion a tidal wave that will continue to change lives until He returns once more. The excitement builds to the moment of His birth and the next thing God does is pull back the curtains of heaven and show the world how to rejoice!
Come we to welcome Emmanuel
King who came with no crown or throne
Helpless He lay, the Invincible
Maker of Mary, now Mary’s son
O what wisdom to save us all
Shepherds, sages, before Him fall
Grace and majesty, what humility
Come on bended knee, adore Him
The overwhelming Joy that Christ’s birth brings to the world, again, extends beyond our space and time. It transcends life itself. Of course, the shepherds didn’t know that at the time. All too often, we ourselves forget that as well. We need to be reminded, so often because of our human nature, that Jesus didn’t just ask us to trust him. He asked us to follow him and go tell the others – all Creation. Below is a quote from Matt Papa, one of the song’s writers.
‘”Sing We the Song of Emmanuel” started with the general theme of Christmas and the song title. The song evolved with a joyful and majestic sounding tune—and we asked the question “what does this tune want to say about Christmas and about the coming of Jesus? We tried to combine the mystery of the Christmas story with the joy, jubilation, and majesty that we celebrate at Christmas. Verse three of “Sing We the Song of Emmanuel” embodies all that we really want to communicate with this song.’ —Matt Papa
Go spread the news of Emmanuel
Joy and peace for the weary heart
Lift up your heads, for your King has come
Sing for the Light overwhelms the dark
Glory shining for all to see
Hope alive, let the gospel ring
God has made a way, He will have the praise
Tell the world His name is Jesus
With the news of Christ, His glorious and humble beginnings, how can we not sing with a fullness of Joy? “God has made a way, He will have the praise, Tell the world His name is Jesus!” It’s infectious joy! What better way to begin the season of Advent, than diving into the joyous celebration of King Jesus!