There is nothing more fulfilling than taking time on a cold winter’s night to sing Christmas carols to the elderly and those who are shut-in.
Angie and I, along with several members of the Rubyville Community Church, did that again last night.
We’ve done it since I can remember, and it brings such joy to those who open their doors on a chilly night.
I enjoy most Christmas songs—even the silly ones. But like most people, I have my favorites.
Hark! The Herald Angels Sing is near the top of my list.
The song, written in 1739 by Charles Wesley, is a wondrous description of why we should rejoice not just this time of year, but always. Can you imagine being there when the angels rejoiced and proclaimed, “Glory to the newborn king”?
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 the angelic host proclaim “Christ is born in Bethlehem”
Hark! The herald angels sing
“Glory to the new-born king”
Another standard we sing on the caroling trail is O Come, All Ye Faithful.
This delight was written in 1744 and has been attributed to several authors. The message in this is simple: Adore Him!
Yea, Lord, we greet thee, born this happy morning; Jesus, to thee, be glory given! Word of the Father, now in flesh appearing! O come, let us adore Him, O’ come, let us adore Him, O come, let us adore Him,
Christ the Lord.
Then there is Joy to the World, which was written in 1719. The song is based on Psalm 98, 96 and Genesis 3: 17-18. It is upbeat and tells why we should be thankful to the Lord. The first verse sets the tone:
Joy to the World; The Lord is come; Let Earth receive her King: Let every Heart prepare him Room,
And Heaven and Nature sing. And Heaven and Nature sing.
One of my favorite secular Christmas songs has an interesting twist to it. Do You Hear What I Hear? was written in 1962 by Noel Regney with music by Gloria Shayne Baker. The two were married when they wrote this, but they were hesitant to release it at first due to how commercialized Christmas had become. It had a political overtone to it since it was written as a plea for peace during the Cuban Missile Crisis.
Hundreds of artists have recorded the song such as Whitney Houston, Vince Gill, Pat Boone, and Ann Murray. But I think Bing Crosby’s version is the best. His smooth and haunting voice always sends chills down my back.
There are others I enjoy this time of the year as well. There is O Holy Night on the sacred end, Jingle Bells for a festive atmosphere, and Chestnuts Roasting on an Open Fire (The Christmas Song) by Nat King Cole for a soothing and relaxing evening at home.
Then there is Burl Ives and his Have a Holly Jolly Christmas – a classic.
But the most cherished, in my opinion is Silent Night.
My Sunday School teacher Tom made an astute observation two years ago. He has no Biblical basis for his theory, but it makes sense.
The poem, written in 1818 by Joseph Mohr and composed by Franz Xaver Gruber, in Austria, depicts what he thinks might have happened the night Jesus was born.
Was the night quiet like the song suggests? Who knows? Tom doesn’t see how that was possible, and I can agree with his opinion.
He wasn’t sure how that magnificent night could have been silent. After all, the Inn was crowded with people – that could not have been a silent night. The Christ child was born in a manger surrounded by live animals – that could not have been a silent night. When a baby is born, it often cries – that could not have been a silent night. Shepherds were afraid when the angels appeared – that could not have been a silent night. Heavenly hosts were singing and shouting – that could not have been a silent night.
Tom’s analysis made me ponder and, as usual, is probably right.
Let me add my two cents as to why it might have been silent – if only for a few moments.
Perhaps when Christ was born, the entire world knew. You have heard the expression “time stood still.” Maybe, just for a few minutes after the birth, everything was quiet. Even the crickets stopped to take note. The animals knew and observed and watched. The crowd had a feeling and stood in silence. The shepherds were aware because they were told by the angels, and perhaps they were in awe.
Maybe the silence of the night was a signal that the King of Kings was here. Perhaps the momentary stillness was in honor of His arrival. For a few moments, all was calm, and all was bright. Hope filled the night, and the Lord slept in peace — heavenly peace.
The poem says that radiant beams from thy holy face, with the dawn of redeeming grace, that Jesus was indeed Lord at His birth.
The whole world knew and stood in silence, overwhelmed with what had transpired. He had arrived.
Silent night, Holy night.
Shepherds quake at the sight.
Glories stream from the heaven above.
Heavenly hosts sing Hallelujah.
Christ the Savior is born.
Christ the Savior is born.
The night may not have been silent after all – but thank the Lord, it was a Holy night. Thank God that Christ the Savior is born. Christ the Savior is born.
What Christmas carols mean the most to you and why? Do you sing them this time of the year? Does it matter if the night was still? No. What matters is that we sing these classic songs every year to people who love them. What matters are the looks on the faces of the people who listen
and are touched by what they hear, as they silently mouth the words along with you while their eyes look off to recall fond memories of Christmas past.
Christ the Savior is born.
Take the time this season to sing some Christmas Carols to someone before Dec. 25. You might discover the best gift you can give is your time and love. This can be your way to tell everyone the good news that Christ the Savior is born!
Del Duduit is an award-winning writer and author who lives in Lucasville, Ohio with his wife, Angie. Follow his blog at delduduit.com/blog and his Twitter @delduduit.