The Theology of Christmas Songs in Your Church

It’s quite possible that non-Christians hear more Christian theology around Christmas-time than any other time of the year. A number of Christmas songs are filled with rich theological truths.

Take the popular “Hark! the Herald Angels Sing.” It’s chock-full of robust truths from God’s Word.

But I wonder how many non-Christians really understand what they’re singing. Or even how many Christians understand these lyrics!

Take, for example, the line “Veiled in flesh the Godhead see.” That simply means “Look and see God, hidden in human flesh,” see God in the Person of Jesus.

Then comes “Hail the incarnate Deity.” Deity, of course, means divine One, God Himself. Incarnate means “enfleshed.”

Look at the next two lines: “Pleased as man with men in flesh to dwell, Jesus, our Emmanuel.” There’s that word again—”Emmanuel,” God with us. Jesus is our “God with us.” We know who God is because of Jesus. We know what God is like because of Jesus.

This verse is supposed to set up the miracle of the incarnation by letting you see Christ in all His glory coming as baby Jesus in that humble stable.

Look at the pure, sinless Jesus being born to a mother under questionable circumstances.

Look at the Maker of the universe being denied space in the inn, having to occupy the space of a stable.

Look at Christ being adored by all of heaven, and then see Him in a stinky feeding trough flanked by animals.

Part of the glory of the incarnation is holding that tension in your mind. It gives you a window into how great God’s love is, that He would take on human flesh for us and our salvation.

Pause and Reflect

What do the humble circumstances of Christ’s birth tell us about the nature and character of God?

How should our exercise of power and authority change in light of the humility of Christ?

– from one of the devotionals I contributed to The Gospel Project Christmas

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Trevin Wax

Trevin Wax

My name is Trevin Wax. I am a follower of Jesus Christ. My wife is Corina, and we have two children: Timothy (7) and Julia (3). Currently, I serve the church by working at LifeWay Christian Resources as managing editor of The Gospel Project, a gospel-centered small group curriculum for all ages that focuses on the grand narrative of Scripture. I have been blogging regularly at Kingdom People since October 2006. I frequently contribute articles to other publications, such as Christianity Today. I also enjoy traveling and speaking at different churches and conferences. My first book, Holy Subversion: Allegiance to Christ in an Age of Rivals, was published by Crossway Books in January 2010. (Click here for excerpts and more information.) My second book, Counterfeit Gospels: Rediscovering the Good News in a World of False Hope(Moody Publishers) was released in April 2011.

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I'm lost, to say the least! As a new pastor, taking over a newly started church I have read just about everything there is to learn what I can do to grow the church. I truly beleive that those attending our church are friendly and sincere. So that can't be the issue. I have read all the comments to this article and I feel that most churches will never have a fair chance! We are a VERY small church, so we don't have a children's church (yet). So if a family comes and gets upset that we don't have a children's church for them to put their children into, we lose! We do provide things for their kids to do during the service and even have an option for their kids to be in a different room, if they don't want their kids to sit with them. We are also such a small church that we don't have a worship team/band/etc. Our worship music comes from music videos. The congregation we do have likes it this way, but of course we would love to have a worhsip team. So, if someone comes to our church and is upset that we don't have live music, we lose! The point I am trying to make is that when people come in with preconceived ideas of what a church should be like, they will never find a church home, unless they find a church who's goal is to entertain! Every Sunday our message comes from the Bible, so that can't be a complaint for someone, so instead, people leave the church and never come back because they want more from a church: they don't want friendly people who are following the Word of God; they want a church that give them something (a babysitter for their kid, entertainment, free gifts, etc.) I'm sorry if sound cynical, I truly want everyone to hear the Good News and learn about Christ's love, but if they come in looking for something else, then the church will always lose!
 
— JAG
 
Reminds me Tony Morgan's classic post entitle “What If Target Operated Like A Church?” I wrote about this in a blog post "Is Your Church Like Target…or More Like A Mall?" https://goo.gl/2qQIy3
 
— bruceherwig
 
Challenging and very good
 
— John Gilbank
 

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