When was the last time you thought about the great truth found in Christmas hymns and carols? In this program we focus on the truth of five Christmas carols. Be sure to listen to the podcast to hear the music for each carol, written just for us, playing underneath the content! Part 1, produced in 2015, featured five different Christmas carols.
The First Noel
And by the light of that same star
Three wise men came from country far;
To seek for a King was their intent,
And to follow the star wherever it went.
Tradition gives us their names, but not only do we not know their names (because the Bible doesn’t mention them), we don’t even know if there were three. We assume three because of the number of gifts mentioned.
But the point of this carol is not about a number, or gifts; it’s about the commitment of these Magi: “To seek for a King was their intent, and to follow the star wherever it went.”
Is there something in your life you’ve pursued, wherever it went? A person? Stuff? Wealth? Position? Power? The Magi were accustomed to wealth, position and power. But who did they pursue? A foreign King. A Jewish King. Why? Well, if they knew about the birth of this Jewish King, then they knew about the Jewish God. And I believe they understood that this Jewish God, was The One True God.
To choose to follow the King was and is counter-cultural, and oftentimes is perceived as foolish. But the WISE men didn’t care. They chose to follow the star wherever it went, until they found . . . Him. Do you know who to follow? Are you willing to look for Him with that same kind of commitment?
Come Thou Long Expected Jesus
Born Thy people to deliver,
Born a child and yet a King,
Born to reign in us forever,
Now Thy gracious kingdom bring.
By Thine own eternal Spirit
Rule in all our hearts alone;
By Thine all sufficient merit,
Raise us to Thy glorious throne.
“You will have a son. His name will be Jesus. He will be great and will be called the Son of God Most High. The Lord God will make him king, as his ancestor David was. He will rule the people of Israel forever, and his kingdom will never end.” (Luke 1:31-33)
It’s been about 400 years since Israel had heard from the Lord, and within six months, the angel Gabriel came down twice to speak of Messiah’s birth. When Mary heard those words, Scripture mentions how she treasured them in her heart. The big thing: she’s going to be pregnant! (Well, and that He was a King.) But the first thing Gabriel told Mary was to name Him Jesus; and we learn from another angelic vision that Jesus would live up to His name: “[F]or He will save His people from their sins.” (Matthew 1:21)
Mr. Wesley got it right; the first line of this verse is, “Born Thy people to deliver.” The advent we celebrate now is for the One Who has delivered us from our sins. The advent we still expect is when He will rule as King of Kings and Lord of Lords, forever.
May Christ rule in your heart . . . forever.
Come, All Ye Faithful
Yea, Lord, we greet Thee, born this happy morning;
Jesus, to Thee be all glory given;
Word of the Father, now in flesh appearing.
O come, let us adore Him, Christ the Lord.
Singer/Songwriter Michael Card was explaining how it was difficult for the disciples to see Christ as God. Seeing Him as man—standing five-foot something, walking, eating and drinking with them everyday—was easy. But for us, the opposite is true—seeing Him as God is easier; but Christ as man, is a bit more difficult.
One of the reasons to celebrate His birth, is to give us a tangible and “In Time” beginning of One who is everlasting. And so like the hymn, we can come before Him in our hearts and minds, see Him lying in a manger in a barn. We can rejoice how the Word became flesh, and, we can rejoice that He laid down that life, to save us.
John 1 reveals the author’s inspiration: “And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, and we have seen his glory, glory as of the only Son from the Father, full of grace and truth.” (John 1:14) But how is it we come to adore Him? John tells us in a few verses earlier: “But to all who did receive him, who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God.” (John 1:12)
Will you receive that right, and greet Christ the Lord today?
Let All Mortal Flesh Keep Silent
Rank on rank the host of heaven
spreads its vanguard on the way,
as the Light of light descendeth
from the realms of endless day,
that the powers of hell may vanish
as the shadows clear away.
When the author of the hymn composed this verse he must have had Isaiah 9:2 in mind: “The people that walked in darkness have seen a great light: they that dwell in the land of the shadow of death, upon them hath the light shined.” He must have visualized the host of heaven in a vanguard invading the earth, and leading the Son of God to His incarnation in a glorious, dazzling, and blinding display. All who worshiped darkness were put on notice: the light of the world had come into the world.
And the light is still here, which is why the shadows are being cleared away and the powers of hell will vanish: “You are the light of the world . . . Let your light shine before men in such a way that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father who is in heaven.” (Matthew 5:14, 16)
“But you are the chosen race, the King’s priests, the holy nation, God’s own people, chosen to proclaim the wonderful acts of God, who called you out of darkness into his own marvelous light.” (1 Peter 2:9)
Will you come out of your darkness and into His light?
Good Christian Men Rejoice (In Dulci Jubilo)
Good Christian men, rejoice,
With heart, and soul, and voice;
Now ye hear of endless bliss: Joy! Joy!
Jesus Christ was born for this!
He hath opened the heavenly door,
And man is blessed forevermore.
Christ was born for this! Christ was born for this!
So what was Christ born for? Or as the hymn goes: What’s the “this?”
“Truly, truly, I say to you, I am the door of the sheep . . . If anyone enters by me, he will be saved and will go in and out and find pasture.” (John 10:7,9)
Christ not only opened the door, He IS the door. He’s the only door to Heaven, and to our Father in Heaven: “I am the way, and the truth, and the life; no one comes to the Father but through Me.” (John 14:6)
When Christ died upon the cross, He did it for you, so that you would have a way into heaven, and experience endless, eternal bliss. “Because of the joy awaiting him, he endured the cross, disregarding its shame. Now he is seated in the place of honor beside God’s throne.”(Hebrews 11:3) He was willing to die for the joy that was awaiting Him; of accomplishing His Father’s will, and making a way for you, to the Father.
The door is open. Listen, you could be hearing the songs of Heaven.
May your Christmas be filled with praise.
This program was written by Probe Radio producer, Steven Davis, whose blog is Singing With the King. The music was composed and performed by his son and Mind Games Camp graduate, Jon Clive Davis.
©2016 Probe Ministries