The Truth in Christmas Carols

The Christmas season comes early at my house. We all love Christmas and can’t wait to get started. When you have two children aged 5 and 8, there is a lot of anticipation and excitement – but my wife and I are not much different than them. In fact, last year, we had to wake our kids up at 7:00 because we couldn’t wait any longer to see the joy on their faces as they opened presents.

The planning and anticipation starts long before the snow starts to fall. Lists of gifts to purchase are compiled in October, decorating is finished by mid-November and stores are to be avoided if at all possible after December 1st (I failed this year and didn’t finish my shopping until December 10th.) 

Of course, nothing helps to get you in the mood for Christmas like listening to Christmas music. Music can have a great affect on your mood throughout the year; so, it is no surprise that many of us can’t wait for it to be socially acceptable to listen to Christmas music 24/7. Whether an old carol recounting the birth of Christ or a modern song about gifts or snow, I enjoy most of the sounds of the season.

When it comes to Christmas Carols, I know that some “creative liberties” have been taken with the lyrics: they weren’t kings and there was way more than 3 of them, there is no Biblical reference to angels singing (yeah, that surprised me, too), and Mary and Joseph were first-time parents – there is no way “all was calm.” 

If you look beyond those small details, there are great truths that have been put to the familiar melodies. Here are just a few of the lines that encapsulate not only the events of Jesus’ birth but the Gospel.

Word of the Father,
Now in flesh appearing;
(O Come All Ye Faithful)

That hath made heaven and earth of naught,
And with his blood mankind hath bought
(The First Noel)

With the dawn of redeeming grace,
Jesus Lord, at Thy birth
(Silent Night)

(I was going to pick out a line from Angels from the Realms of Glory, but I couldn’t pick just one, I would encourage you to read the whole song.)

Often, when the words are as well known as many of the carols we sing, the meaning can get lost as we simply repeat the sounding joy. But as you can see, in just a few lines plucked from popular carols, the truth of who Jesus is and what He was born to do are proclaimed. The common refrains heard throughout December are professing the message that the whole world needs to hear.


This Christmas, in all the hustle and festivities, I encourage you to take the time to let the timeless words of the Christmas classics remind you the reason for our celebration, and the joy that brings to our souls.


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