Tuesday, December 1, 2015

Glory to the Newborn King!



Anyone that knows me well knows that I am a huge, I mean HUGE lover of music. It can be any type of music - country, old gospel, negro spirituals, Christian hip-hop/rap, jazz - you name it, I've probably heard about it! I believe that there is power within the words of songs, and that power can be used for either good or evil. In any given moment, each and every action that we make, whether we knowingly or unknowingly realize it, is building either the Kingdom of God or the kingdom of this world. Music has a great role in this, because it has the ability to reach large masses in an instant. 

Out of all the various styles of music that I've had the pleasure of hearing, I would have to say that hands-down my favorite genre of music would be hymns. I enjoy hymns so much that I actually prefer hearing them than modern contemporary Christian music - that's just my preference. 

Hymns have such a power in them, it's really hard to explain and wrap your head around. I wanted to do a series of posts on just the message behind the songs that we sing, in particular during this time of year, because sometimes in the midst of our singing we fail to grasp with understanding the real gravity of what these lyrics are saying to us. We are (hopefully) singing songs in our Sunday worship that uplift God as being holy and transcendent, but sometimes we just get so caught into "singing to be singing" mode and don't take time to listen to the words of the song. I wanted to use this time to focus on songs and hymns that are deemed only Christmas-y and unpack their true essence, and believe it or not, you might find, as I have been finding out, that these songs have little to do with the birth of Christ and more to do with celebrating the reason why He came to earth.

"Peace on Earth and Mercy Mild"

I was sitting in church the Sunday right before Thanksgiving, and we had just got done singing a hymn from our hymnals. Still having the hymnal in my hand, I started to flip through its pages. After a couple of flips, the pages landed on "Hark the Herald Angels Sing," a song that I've sung many times before. As I started humming the tune to myself, I'm sure my friend sitting behind me thought I was losing it, but I stopped for a moment just to read the words of the song. Although the whole song speaks of the fully divine, fully human nature of Jesus Christ as He entered this world through a virgin, it was the last verse that caught my attention and  sums up fully and most eloquently the message of the Gospel:

"Hail the heav'n-born Prince of Peace!
Hail the Son of Righteousness!
Light and life to all He brings
Ris'n with healing in His wings
Mild He lays His glory by
Born that man no more may die
Born to raise the sons of earth
Born to give them second birth
Hark! The herald angels sing
"Glory to the newborn King!""
In order for Jesus to redeem us from our bondage to sin, He, being equal with God, humbled Himself, "taking the form of a bondservant, and came in the likeness of men" (Philippians 2:5-7). Through His birth, we were granted His righteousness, and in exchange He bore our sins, becoming "obedient the the point of death, even the death of the cross" (Philippians 2:8). He humbly laid aside His glory and was born into this world wrecked with death so that we wouldn't have to be spiritually condemned to death anymore because of sin. 

Through His death and resurrection, we can experience a second birth mentioned in the song, and rejoice because sin has no hold over us any longer. We will still sin, but through the power that has been given us through Jesus' birth, death and resurrection, we are complete in Him and can live for Him.


SDG