The Theology of Christmas Songs in Your Church

It’s quite possible that non-Christians hear more Christian theology around Christmas-time than any other time of the year. A number of Christmas songs are filled with rich theological truths.

Take the popular “Hark! the Herald Angels Sing.” It’s chock-full of robust truths from God’s Word.

But I wonder how many non-Christians really understand what they’re singing. Or even how many Christians understand these lyrics!

Take, for example, the line “Veiled in flesh the Godhead see.” That simply means “Look and see God, hidden in human flesh,” see God in the Person of Jesus.

Then comes “Hail the incarnate Deity.” Deity, of course, means divine One, God Himself. Incarnate means “enfleshed.”

Look at the next two lines: “Pleased as man with men in flesh to dwell, Jesus, our Emmanuel.” There’s that word again—”Emmanuel,” God with us. Jesus is our “God with us.” We know who God is because of Jesus. We know what God is like because of Jesus.

This verse is supposed to set up the miracle of the incarnation by letting you see Christ in all His glory coming as baby Jesus in that humble stable.

Look at the pure, sinless Jesus being born to a mother under questionable circumstances.

Look at the Maker of the universe being denied space in the inn, having to occupy the space of a stable.

Look at Christ being adored by all of heaven, and then see Him in a stinky feeding trough flanked by animals.

Part of the glory of the incarnation is holding that tension in your mind. It gives you a window into how great God’s love is, that He would take on human flesh for us and our salvation.

Pause and Reflect

What do the humble circumstances of Christ’s birth tell us about the nature and character of God?

How should our exercise of power and authority change in light of the humility of Christ?

– from one of the devotionals I contributed to The Gospel Project Christmas

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Trevin Wax

Trevin Wax

My name is Trevin Wax. I am a follower of Jesus Christ. My wife is Corina, and we have two children: Timothy (7) and Julia (3). Currently, I serve the church by working at LifeWay Christian Resources as managing editor of The Gospel Project, a gospel-centered small group curriculum for all ages that focuses on the grand narrative of Scripture. I have been blogging regularly at Kingdom People since October 2006. I frequently contribute articles to other publications, such as Christianity Today. I also enjoy traveling and speaking at different churches and conferences. My first book, Holy Subversion: Allegiance to Christ in an Age of Rivals, was published by Crossway Books in January 2010. (Click here for excerpts and more information.) My second book, Counterfeit Gospels: Rediscovering the Good News in a World of False Hope(Moody Publishers) was released in April 2011.

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comment_post_ID); ?> I like it Mac and do agree with your opinions on the matter. Thanks much
 
— winston
 
comment_post_ID); ?> In this era, we have the opportunity of professional church staff today who utilize their gifting to shape the image and atmosphere of the church organization. But the 100% real impact on the church visitors is genuine evidence of changed lives by the gospel and the active growing discipleship (just as it was in the first century church). One demonstration is financially rich believers ministering equally together with poor believers (how odd, and incredibly miraculous; all humble and bow at the foot of the cross.). It is the awesome contrast of church members vocations, race, gender, age, maturity, gifting, humility that demonstrates to visitors "there is a Spirit in the place". That first-time guest list of 10 are "physical excuses", not spiritual excuses. Those don't tell the story. The condition of facilities and publicly greeting people have zero to do with it. The power of God in and through believers lives dedicated to impact other people with their relationship bridge-building of acceptance of the lost around them. Empowered believers are infectious, loving, helpful, giving, self-less, dynamic, compelling, bold, Christ-filled. As I have been in many church settings domestically and internationally, the facilities can be poor, and yet the fellowship can still be rich. We need to operate with first church humility. People come to Christ on His terms, not on our human abilities of hospitality. A huge catastrophe in a community, disaster relief brings lots of people into churches – many come to the church in those terrible conditions no matter the physical condition of the local church. Off the condition of facility, and onto the condition of God's people (living stones).... and everything else will grow.... and the other physical issues will be corrected by the staff.
 
— Russ Wright
 
comment_post_ID); ?> "While I understand the intent behind this phrase" Expound please. What do you understand to be the intent behind that phrase?
 
— Ken
 

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