This year’s Advent Devotional sets its sight on the songs of the church, particularly, the songs that the church sings at Christmas time. Many of the church’s Christmas hymns are among the greatest songs in the church’s musical canon when it comes to teaching theology through song. This is so because the primary focus of true Christmas songs is the most momentous theological event in history – the incarnation of Jesus Christ. In many ways, the theological richness of these songs is unmatched.
But despite their profundity, we often sing through the lines of these songs without much re ection. Our hope is that this Advent season, and perhaps by the help of this devotional, that changes for many of us. That this Christmas season, we would be more thoughtful, more re ective, and more responsive to the grace of God in Christ Jesus by re ecting on the magnitude of what God has done for us, even as we sing these Christmas songs.
With those goals in mind, this devotional seeks to provide theological and biblical insight into some of these magni cent Christmas songs. Each day of the Advent season, the devotional selects a lyric or verse from a song, followed by a brief re ection or explanation rooted in Scripture. The re ections are all written by Christ Fellowship Church members. It is our prayer for you this Advent season that your heart is formed with deeper a ections for and greater joy in Jesus Christ, and that this love and joy produces praise.
When we turn to the Gospel of Luke, we see in Luke 2:13-14 that the response of heaven to the birth of Christ was praise. “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 the earth peace among those with whom He is pleased.’” For these heavenly beings, those who even beheld the preincarnate Christ in heaven, their immediate response is praise. C.S. Lewis helps us to understand why praise is the only fitting response, both for the angelic host and for us today: “[Previously] I thought of [praise] in terms of compliment, approval, or the giving of honor. I had never noticed that all enjoyment spontaneously over ows into praise.” That is, for us to truly enjoy Christ, we will inevitably respond in praise. Lewis continues: “I think we delight to praise what we enjoy because the praise not merely expresses but completes the enjoyment; it is its appointed consummation.” Our praising of Christ is the means by which our joy in Christ is made complete.
So let us think deeply on these beautiful songs this Advent season. And let us sing with engaged minds and full hearts brimming with joy. Let us sing in exultation! We invite you to make your joy complete this Advent season by joining in the songs of exultation with brothers and sisters. As a citizen of heaven (Philippians 3:20), join your voice with the angelic hosts, “Glory to God in the highest!” Indeed church, this Advent season, come let us adore Him, Christ the Lord!