The Wonder Of It All

To say I have a few favorite Christmas hymns would be an understatement!  While we have much to rejoice about, these hymns don’t sugar coat reality.  Here are some that came to mind, followed by why they did.

It came upon the midnight clear
That glorious song of old
From angels bending near the Earth
To touch their harps of gold
Peace on the Earth, goodwill to men
From heaven’s all gracious king
The world in solemn stillness lay
To hear the angels sing

Still through the cloven skies
They come
With peaceful wings unfurl
And still
Their heavenly music floats
O’er all the weary world
Above its sad and lowly plains
They bend on hovering wing
And ever o’er its Babel sounds
The blessed angels sing

O ye
Beneath life’s crushing load
Whose forms are bending low
Who toil along the climbing way
With painful steps and slow
Look now
For glad and golden hours
Come swiftly on the wing
O rest beside the weary road
And hear the angels sing

For lo the days are hastening on
By prophets seen of old
When with the ever circling years
Shall come the time foretold
When the new heaven and earth
Shall own the prince of peace
Their King
And the whole world
Send back the song
Which now the angels sing

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While shepherds kept their watching
Over silent flocks by night,
Behold throughout the heavens,
There shone a holy light:

Refrain:
Go, Tell It On The Mountain,
Over the hills and everywhere;
Go, Tell It On The Mountain
That Jesus Christ is born.

The shepherds feared and trembled
When lo! above the earth
Rang out the angel chorus
That hailed our Savior’s birth:

Refrain

Down in a lowly manger
Our humble Christ was born
And God send us salvation,
That blessed Christmas morn:

Refrain

When I am a seeker,
I seek both night and day;
I seek the Lord to help me,
And He shows me the way:

Refrain

He made me a watchman
Upon the city wall,
And if I am a Christian,
I am the least of all.

Refrain

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We three kings of Orient are
Bearing gifts we traverse afar
Field and fountain, moor and mountain
Following yonder star

Refrain:
O Star of wonder, star of night
Star with royal beauty bright
Westward leading, still proceeding
Guide us to thy Perfect Light

Born a King on Bethlehem’s plain
Gold I bring to crown Him again
King forever, ceasing never
Over us all to reign

Refrain

Frankincense to offer have I
Incense owns a Deity nigh
Prayer and praising, all men raising
Worship Him, God most high

Refrain

Myrrh is mine, its bitter perfume
Breathes of life of gathering gloom
Sorrowing, sighing, bleeding, dying
Sealed in the stone-cold tomb

Refrain

Glorious now behold Him arise
King and God and Sacrifice
Alleluia, Alleluia
Earth to heav’n replies

Refrain

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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!”

Refrain:
Hark! the herald angels sing,
“Glory to the newborn King!”

Christ, by highest Heav’n adored;
Christ the everlasting Lord;
Late in time, behold Him come,
Offspring of a virgin’s womb.
Veiled in flesh the Godhead see;
Hail th’incarnate Deity,
Pleased with us in flesh to dwell,
Jesus our Emmanuel.

Refrain

Hail the heav’nly Prince of Peace!
Hail the Sun of Righteousness!
Light and life to all He brings,
Ris’n with healing in His wings.
Mild He lays His glory by,
Born that man no more may die.
Born to raise the sons of earth,
Born to give them second birth.

Refrain

Come, Desire of nations, come,
Fix in us Thy humble home;
Rise, the woman’s conqu’ring Seed,
Bruise in us the serpent’s head.
Now display Thy saving power,
Ruined nature now restore;
Now in mystic union join
Thine to ours, and ours to Thine.

Refrain

Adam’s likeness, Lord, efface,
Stamp Thine image in its place:
Second Adam from above,
Reinstate us in Thy love.
Let us Thee, though lost, regain,
Thee, the Life, the inner man:
O, to all Thyself impart,
Formed in each believing heart.

Refrain

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There’s the wonder of sunset at evening,
The wonder as sunrise I see;
But the wonder of wonders that thrills my soul
Is the wonder that God loves me.

O, the wonder of it all! The wonder of it all!
Just to think that God loves me.
O, the wonder of it all! The wonder of it all!
Just to think that God loves me.

There’s the wonder of springtime and harvest,
The sky, the stars, the sun;
But the wonder of wonders that thrills my soul
Is a wonder that’s only begun.

O, the wonder of it all! The wonder of it all!
Just to think that God loves me.
O, the wonder of it all! The wonder of it all!
Just to think that God loves me.

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As I sat to write this, I clearly had “The Wonder of it All” on my mind.  But I also had the tragedy our nation faced when evil made it evident why Jesus needed to be born.  The lines of the first Christmas hymn I quoted are evidence that this display of evil is not new.

O ye Beneath life’s crushing load
Whose forms are bending low
Who toil along the climbing way
With painful steps and slow
Look now
For glad and golden hours
Come swiftly on the wing
O rest beside the weary road
And hear the angels sing

That life is a crushing load of toil and pain is as old as time.  But neither the song nor the story stop there!  There is hope.  That hope is that God loved me and you enough to send His son Jesus to be born of a virgin, live a sinless perfect life, and ultimately to die though undeserved, so that we no longer have to.

Born that man no more may die.
Born to raise the sons of earth,
Born to give them second birth.

Why do we need this “Second Birth”?  Our first birth was marred by a curse and sin.  And as a result we need to be reconciled to God.  That’s what God provided for when He sent Jesus, who saves from sin, and allows God to justly forgive us, because Jesus took the punishment that he didn’t deserve instead of us.  And did I ever deserve death!

With all of this evil, from mall shootings, and school shootings, and arson, we are asking questions.  When we experience the little pain it causes each of us, and when we think about the anguish the families and communities directly impacted felt, how can we not long for the day when this “heaven sent Prince of Peace” will reign?  Unfortunately, we are looking for him in all of the wrong places.  Our government will not save us.  More laws will not save us.  Keeping guns away from unstable people will not save us.  Shoot, we can’t even save ourselves.  We are outraged by these events because we know good and evil.  But we are powerless to do the good, at least if we are honest.  We each have the ability to do the things we know we should not do.  And as a society, we have explained away the fear of God.  So what is left?  Why, evil of course.  God says Christians are the only thing restraining evil in this world, and we are not doing a very good job.  God calls Christians to be salt and light, and we’re too afraid of what you may think of us, to speak out about what this world, and our country really need.

Salt in a wound hurts, but brings about healing.  Shedding light on evil exposes it for what it is, and also serves to disinfect.  What Christians starting with me need to do is repent.  I have not been nearly the witness, nor as forceful and loving as I should have been.  I’m the worst sinner there is trying to pass myself off as a humble flawed follower of Jesus.  But don’t let that stop you from having the only relationship that matters.  A saving relationship with the One who died to set you free, and restore your relationship with the God who made you.

If you accept this gift, you will have accepted the biggest gift of all.  If that doesn’t inspire “The Wonder of it All”, then nothing will.  This Christmas, my prayer is that God will use the tragedy our country faced to bring you, and many others to the Savior who is Christ the Lord.