The Glory Of Christmas

Day 1 of 5 • This day’s reading


 Music at Christmas 

Christmas and music are inseparable. We all know that the angel chorus sang the announcement of the birth of the Messiah to Galilean shepherds, even though the biblical text does not say that they sang. Similarly, in the New International Version, Mary’s Magnificat in Luke 1:46 carries the translator’s heading “Mary’s Song,” while Zechariah’s response to the promised Messiah in Luke 1:67 is labeled as “Zechariah’s Song.” In neither case does the original text specify that they sang, but their utterances came in the form of lyrical poetry that matches the style of first-century hymns. Simeon also bursts out in poetic praise in Luke 2:29 as Mary and Joseph present the baby Jesus in the Temple in Jerusalem. Still, the biblical text never explicitly mentions music or singing in connection to the Nativity and infancy of the Messiah.

It doesn’t need to. From our own reception of the Christmas tidings, we know instinctively that they sang. We ourselves want to burst out singing when we think of Christmas. In musical theatre, the dialogue moves along in prose, but there are high moments when the play has to break out in song. Likewise, the human story puttered along in prose for centuries awaiting the begetting of God’s Son, our Savior, but when the baby came, singing had to break out. In our own lives, we dragged through years of lost wandering in prose until the Good News broke into our hearts and set them singing.

O God, who created the music of the heavenly spheres and gifted humanity with song, receive our praise as we begin singing the songs of Christmas this year. Be blessed as we worship; rejoice over us with singing as we meditate on the meaning of this blessed season. Lift up our hearts through the winter days ahead and let us see Jesus everywhere we go. In the name of him who has made us glad, amen.