LETTER: Sing joyfully of Jesus
To the Editor:
“Black Friday” and “Cyber Monday,” The “Holiday Rush“ as proclaimed in Saturday's Herald, is upon us. When does the hurried soul focus on the main event of our celebration at Christmas: the birth of our savior, Jesus Christ? Reflecting on and singing Christmas hymns is one way to help keep your mind and priorities right.
One favorite hymn “Silent Night, Holy Night” causes us to reflect upon the setting God chose for the birth of his son. Joseph and Mary naturally thought it was to be in the room of a worldly inn in Bethlehem, but God had a more humble location in mind. “Round yon virgin mother and child, holy infant so tender and mild. Sleep in heavenly peace!” The simple, heavenly peace (shalom) of God described in this hymn can still be found today apart from this complex and busy world. The hymn's conclusion proclaiming, “Jesus, Lord at thy birth” should be our main focus during the Christmas holiday.
Singing the enduring Christmas hymns helps us maintain our focus on Christ. I am thankful for all the churches who believe this and who spread the gospel of Jesus Christ by singing these sacred hymns. Their lyrics are poetic, their tunes beautiful. Most contain excellent theology that Christians of various denominations can appreciate together.
God's truth unites believers. The Bible commands Christians to be filled with the Spirit; “speaking to yourselves in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing and making melody in your heart to the Lord; giving thanks always for all things unto God and the father in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ” — Ephesians 5:19-20.
The Holy Spirit of God uses hymns to edify the church and also to draw non-believers to our wonderful savior, where true peace and rest for troubled souls is found. For example, “O Little Town of Bethlehem” stanza three: “How silently, how silently, the wondrous gift is given! So God imparts to human hearts, the blessings of his heaven. No ear may hear his coming, but in this world of sin, where meek souls will receive him still, the dear Christ enters in.”
The great hymns beautifully convey the gospel of Jesus Christ to all generations of people everywhere. Sing them joyfully!
Robert A. Watson