Hark! The Herald Angels Sing_Emily LittletonFor the month of December, I thought it would be a good idea to look a little closer at some of the classic Christmas carols. Every Christmas season I find myself listening to them, singing them, and loving them because they are so familiar and sweet, but I often totally gloss over the rich meaning behind them. I want to bring them back to life for us all, take a phrase or two and dive deeper into these carols.

Hark! The herald angels sing,
“Glory to the newborn King;
Peace on earth, and mercy mild,
God and sinners reconciled!”
Joyful, all ye nations rise,
Join the triumph of the skies;
With th’angelic host proclaim,
`“Christ is born in Bethlehem!”
Hark! the herald angels sing,
“Glory to the newborn King!”

When we think of Christmas, there are many good feelings that come to mind: family, friends, warm fires, gifts, love, and peace on earth. When I sing this song, I think of Charlie Brown and his friends singing around a Christmas tree, remembering what Christmas is really all about. I bet God smiles when all of these warm fuzzy thoughts come to our minds when we think of the birth of his Son. But God sent Jesus for a much more important reason. Because Jesus left his throne in heaven to live on earth God and sinners are reconciled!

I love the way The Voice Bible translation talks about Jesus, the Anointed:

2 Corinthians 5:18-19

All of this is a gift from our Creator God, who has pursued us and brought us into a restored and healthy relationship with Him through the Anointed. And He has given us the same mission, the ministry of reconciliation, to bring others back to Him. It is central to our good news that God was in the Anointed making things right between Himself and the world. This means He does not hold their sins against them. But it also means He charges us to proclaim the message that heals and restores our broken relationships with God and each other.

This hymn, written in 1739, reminds us that the entire point of Jesus’ birth was to make our relationship right with God again. Because God is holy he cannot be in relationship with sinful people (you know, all of us). It’s not because he’s mean and prideful it is because he is perfect. Let me try to explain this.

Imagine a cold glass of pure water. I’m thirsty just thinking about it. Now imagine someone sticks their grimy finger in the glass to stir it up a bit. They didn’t dump a handful of mud in there but you know there are minuscule specs of dirt and unseen germs now swirling around in that water. Less appetizing? Absolutely. Our standard for purity in this case is the same as God’s standard: perfection. We want our water free of dirt and germs, because otherwise it is no longer pure. God IS pure and holy so he simply cannot be with sin. Our sin separates us from him and destroys our relationship. But God made a way to reconcile that relationship, or make it right again, through Jesus.

When we sing this carol let us rejoice with the angels that God has made a way to be in a close and personal relationship with him. Because Jesus chose to live and die on this earth, taking the punishment that we deserved, God’s grace has made a way, not only for us to connect with him personally, but for Him to live in and with us.

Let’s look at the verses above again because there are some important parts I grayed out there:

2 Corinthians 5:18-19

All of this is a gift from our Creator God, who has pursued us and brought us into a restored and healthy relationship with Him through the Anointed. And He has given us the same mission, the ministry of reconciliation, to bring others back to HimIt is central to our good news that God was in the Anointed making things right between Himself and the world. This means He does not hold their sins against them. But it also means He charges us to proclaim the message that heals and restores our broken relationships with God and each other.

Let me give you one last, quick reminder: Once we have accepted God’s gift of grace, it’s our job to spread the good news. Make things right in your relationships and help the people you love to find peace on earth by choosing to live this life with God.