25 Days of Christmas – Oh Holy Night
“Oh holy night! The stars are brightly shining. It is the night of the dear Savior’s birth! Long lay the world in sin and error pining. Till he appear’d and the soul felt its worth. A thrill of hope the weary world rejoices. For yonder breaks a new and glorious morn! Fall on your knees. Oh hear the angel voices. Oh night divine. Oh night when Christ was born. Oh night divine. Oh night, oh holy night.”
The words above come from one of my all time favorite Christmas carols. I remember hearing my friend Elaine sing this song at church every Christmas Eve for years. Her voice was angelic. The pageants we see in church usually portray the angels arriving to the fields where the shepherds are tending their sheep and then bursting out into song. But the scriptures do not mention singing or music. First an angel appears to the shepherds and tells them not to fear. He has good news to tell them. The Christ is born. Then a multitude of angels show up. Luke 2:13-14 says, “And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God and saying, Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace among those with whom he is pleased!” The angels came praising God!
It is entirely possible that these angels did indeed sing. But they could have been praying. They could have just spoken words of praise. It was their demeanor and attitude that reflected praise to God. All too often in our churches today we designate singing as the only way of praising God. We sell ourselves and God short if that is the only way we praise Him. We praise Him with our song, with our words, with our actions, with our hearts, with our demeanor. We praise Him with every piece of ourselves.
God sent angels to shepherds to proclaim the birth of His son. This was news worthy of praise. He didn’t send angels to the priests. Maybe He chose the shepherds because He knew that they would go see His son and offer the praise He is due. And they then shared this news! Maybe the priests knew only to sing. Maybe they could praise with their tongues but not from deep within their hearts. That praise would be empty and not worthy of the one deserving of praise. As we draw ever closer to celebrating another Christmas, the remembrance of Christ’s arrival to save us, let us praise Him, wholeheartedly. May our praise be true. May praise permeate every part of our being. And feel free to sing if you are so inclined.