As we have all been hearing in the shops recently, we are in “the most wonderful time of the year.” With the Christmas season upon us, the list of tasks for the week has grown almost as long as a child’s Wishlist to Santa. One of my tasks for the week has been sorting out exactly what we will be singing for our Nativity play on Sunday.

With our theme being the angel’s outlook, I’ve been digging through old CD’s and Spotify playlists to find songs either about the angels or that could be sung from an angel’s perspective. This has been accompanied by a lot of humming and the occasional breaking into passionate song, when I get to the chorus, the only part of the carol I actually know. Or thought I knew. It would appear listening to the same songs every year for a quarter of a century, has not ingrained the actual words in my brain.

At school there was always the joke of intentionally messing up the carols, with refrains such as “We three kings on pogo sticks are” and “While shepherds washed their socks by night”. But when you actually take a look at some of the lyrics, it’s not surprising that we struggle to remember what we are really singing. It took me a solid ten minutes to decipher the meaning of “veiled in flesh the Godhead see” from Hark the Herald angels sing.

In Children’s Church we’ve been singing Christmas carols instead of our typical worship songs, and it has been amusing to see the looks on the teens and kids faces as they struggle their way through the creative language structure of “O come all ye faithful”.

We all sing the songs with gusto, but as with any other song, we often don’t focus on the meaning of the words. When we actually listen to the lyrics, and spend the time deciphering the Yoda-like phrasing, it reveals truly beautiful poetry. My favourite at the moment is:

Joyful, all ye nations, rise,
join the triumph of the skies;
ith the angelic hosts proclaim,
“Christ is born in Bethlehem!”

This is a call for ALL people to join in joyous worship, it exudes a sense of overwhelming wonder and victory. It makes you feel the raw excitement that those shepherds must have felt.

We are all different in our opinions of when we should start playing carols and whether or not, after many years of listening on repeat, they are actually pleasing to hear. But perhaps if we listen to what we are singing this year, we will begin to feel that same excitement that the shepherds felt in the field, and the simple joy that Mary felt in the stable as she cradled her child.

In Psalm 96: 1 we are told to “Sing to the Lord a new song, sing to the Lord all the earth”. Let us embrace this, this Christmas season. When we hear the call to joyfully rise, let us join with the angelic hosts and praise God. I pray that the Lord would meet us all where we are this Christmas season. Whether it be through worship in carols, meditating on the Christmas story in Luke or fellowship, let us experience the joy of knowing: unto us a Saviour has been born!

Much love