I really do not like Christmas hymns. Sharp pitched notes, different versions of the same thing…it’s not the cynical ‘I hate Christmas,’ because I love Christmas. I just do not like the music that is traditionally associated with it.
I do like Christmas music that is ‘not’ Christmas music to a lot of people. Brandon Heath has a beautiful song out right now called ‘Just a Girl.’ If you haven’t heard it, you must go track it down. I guarantee you will not regret it! I also love ‘Winter Snow’ by Chris Tomlin and Audrey Assad. I could listen to that song on repeat for hours!
There is one traditional song, well…two, really…that I do like. Every time I hear ‘O Holy Night’ and ‘Silent Night’ I get chills. I think it is the lyrics and the dynamics of how it is sung when I hear the ‘Fall on your knees’…that leads into ‘O night divine.’
It is also because ever since I learned that the word ‘holy’ has roots to ‘set apart’ in the original Hebrew I have been fascinated by it. Let’s also clarify that set apart is also very different from being put up on a pedestal for no one to touch. Set apart to me means set apart for a purpose, set apart as one who claims the gift God offers in Jesus. It also means we choose to grab ahold of those holy moments and know that the tangible presence of God has touched us. That is holy for us…but in Revelation it says everyone was praising God all day and all night, and singing:
“‘Holy, holy, holy is the Lord God Almighty,’ who was, and is, and is to come.” [Revelation 4:8]
Does this mean our God is unreachable? Too holy for us?
No. Why? Because we are talking about the same God who sent his son to be born on earth, to live here with us…then die on a cross because we have too many wrongs to make right in ourselves.
We are called to be holy as God is holy…but just as he makes himself available to us, we are not called to be unreachable and act as though we are better than those that do not call themselves believers. When we set ourselves too far apart from those that do not believe what we believe, we do an injustice to God who sent his son to earth to be friends with prostitutes, tax collectors, beggars, outcasts and those with leprosy.
So I leave you with my favorite lyrics from ‘O Holy Night,’ and if you’ve been reading my blog long enough…you’ll easily see why these lyrics are my favorite, and more likely why I have such an attachment to ‘O Holy Night.’
Truly He taught us to love one another.
His law is love and His gospel is peace.
Chains shall He break for the slave is our brother,
And in His name all oppression shall cease.
Sweet hymns of joy in grateful chorus raise we,
Let all within us praise His holy name.