By shaunefc, Dec 1 2012 01:10PM
I wonder if you have a favourite carol, or even favourites! Most of the congregation know that my favourite of favourite carols is “Christians, awake! Salute the happy morn”. This was well before I heard that a very distant relation of mine used to go around his village in Wiltshire playing it on his accordion on Christmas morning – starting at 6am! I have it on an old 33rpm record but promise I won’t fit up an amplification system and drive around Egerton at that time in the morning!
I don’t know how many shops will play Christmas carols over the pre-Christmas season. Nor, indeed, how many people will join in singing carols in the open-air or at a Church service during this period. Nor do I know whether or not any of those hearing or singing these carols will really take notice of the words which they hear or sing.
Just how many people really appreciate the joy which the Christ-Child brought to the world that first Christmas is unknown to me, and I would think to you as well. No doubt Isaac Watts’ hymn will be sung at some point in many churches over the Christmas period:
Joy to the world! the Lord is come!
Let earth receive her King;
let every hear prepare Him room,
and Heaven and nature sing.
I trust that each one of us will celebrate the coming of Christ at Christmas with real and true joy because “the Lord has come” indeed!
As this short article is being written a “peace deal” has just been made between Israel and Hamas yet once more, but, sadly, I doubt whether it will hold any more than previous treaties have! Another Christmas carol, which I have chosen to be sung occasionally on Remembrance Sunday, reminds us of the peace that the Lord Jesus Christ came to this earth to bring to all people throughout the world and yet, a peace which has been, and still is, rejected by so many – it’s not just a peace from war, but a “peace that the world cannot understand”:
It came upon the midnight clear,
that glorious song of old,
from angels bending near the earth
to touch their harps of gold:
“Peace on the earth, goodwill to men,
from Heaven’s all-gracious king!”
The world in solemn stillness lay
To hear the angels sing.
And, as the carol goes on to recall for us:
Yet with the woes of sin and strife,
the world has suffered long;
beneath the angels’ strain have rolled
two thousand years of wrong;
and man, at war with man, hears not
the love-song which they bring:
O hush the noise, ye men of strife,
and hear the angels sing.
My prayer for each one of us is that at this Christmas season, but not only during Christmas, we might know the real, deep peace that can be ours by knowing that the Lord Jesus Christ lives in our lives! (GJS)