My first memories of this song are from, A CHARLIE BROWN CHRISTMAS. Linus has just rebuked the Peanuts gang and taught them the “true” meaning of Christmas. After their come-to-Jesus talk, the gang breaks out in happy chorus singing this wonderful, old, Christmas favorite.
As a Jewish kid I knew very little about the Christ story but had great fascination with the holiday programs surrounding Christmas: RUDOLPH THE RED-NOSED REINDEER, FROSTY THE SNOW MAN, and my personal favorite, THE LITTLE DRUMMER BOY caused me to wonder why this holiday inspired so many television specials-heck, even Herman Munster was in one!
If Christmas was just for Christians how come it was everywhere? And what did all this mean?
I’d stay up late every Christmas Eve to watch every version of A CHRISTMAS CAROL and at midnight I’d wait for something magical to happen. It never did. I always went to bed sad wondering why Santa never showed up at my house and why there were no songs of joy and mystery to be sung.
I know now that it’s because we (my family and I) had no redemption. Christmas is about the birth of The Redeemer and its songs reflect a hope for salvation. Accepting that we are sinners in need of a Savior and accepting the Savior God gave us gives us lots to sing about!
After celebrating 29 Christmases thus far I am finding that these songs (and countless others like MARY’S BOY CHILD, and SOME CHILDREN SEE HIM) take on new meaning each holiday season. As I grow in my relationship with Christ so does my recognition of His grace, mercy, love and deliverance.
I don’t necessarily look forward to Christmastime. Not completely. There’s still that midnight sadness as I remember the lost little Jewish boy waiting for the Great Christmas Pumpkin. In my case, He arrived. I just didn’t know how to see Him at the time. For so many, Christmas is a time for regret and the recognition of loss. Lost time, lost opportunities, and especially lost relationships fill the minds of so many during the holidays.
While countless Christians celebrate the birth of their savior with family and friends, there are far too many that have never met Him, no, that have never been introduced to Him, that wonder why they feel like they are on the outside looking in.
Jesus said that all heaven rejoices when a single soul is saved (Luke 15:7). With three months to prepare, why not plan to leave our homes on Christmas and visit someone who has nothing to celebrate. Exchange gifts the day before or after, have that nifty dinner some other time. Visit someone. Don’t invite them to watch your wonderful life, infiltrate theirs!
Maybe by your act of selflessness a single soul will be saved.
Hark! The herald angels sing, indeed.