How many “old familiar carols” have you heard Christmas after Christmas until the words have almost lost their meaning? If we’re not careful, any song repeated too often can lose the richness of its original intent.
There are some amazing messages in many of our old familiar Christmas carols because many of those messages are saturated with the old familiar story of Redemption that the Bible tells over and over again.
Please join me this Sunday as we take a new look at the old familiar messages in our Christmas carols. These messages will bring a new appreciation of God’s love that was sung at Christ’s Advent, and reawaken the sweetness of meaning for this Christmas Day.
Oh, sing to the Lord a new song! (Psalm 96:1).
God is so great—His worth is infinite—that He deserves a new song every time we sing to Him. There is no need to copy or duplicate something done before, but we should continually find new ways to praise Him.
Look at the angels encircling God’s throne. They continually sing out, “Holy! Holy! Holy!” as they perceive new dimensions of God’s grace, love, faithfulness, beauty, and majesty.
“Oh! Did you see that? Holy!”
“Look at that! Amazing!”
“Wow, I just saw something else breathtaking” Worthy!”
Our praise of God should follow that example: “Holy! Holy! Holy!” This is what Psalm 96 tells us…
King David loved God, and he loved God’s people. He was passionate about everyone getting as deeply connected with God as he was, so he wrote worship songs, setup worship teams, and organized the temple for worshippers.
The first song of ascent he wrote was one anticipating how good it was going to be when everyone got to the temple in Jerusalem to worship.
In fact, David was so excited about what he was expecting to happen in their worship together that he practically glowed with joy! Really! The word for rejoiced in his song means to be so cheerful and happy that you make others around you bright by your happiness. 😀
What was it that David thought was going to happen? First of all, we need to look at the name Jerusalem. Traditionally this means the City of Peace, but the two words that make up “Jerusalem” are much richer than that. Yes, -salem means “peace.” But the first part of the word (yara-) literally means water flowing through, or an arrow being shot out.
In other words, David anticipated that we are going to a peaceful place to be sent out full of peace, to take that peace to others who don’t have it, but desperately need it.
While we are in our “Jerusalem” (for us in the New Testament, this is our “church,” even if it’s just two or three people getting together), here are five blessings you should expect—
With those five blessings in mind, here’s the declaration all Christians can make—
Check out the full video of this message, where I explain each of these ideas more fully. And if you’re in the area, join us on Sunday as we continue our look at the Psalms of Ascent.
“Certain songs can only be learned in the valley. No music school can teach them, for no theory can cause them to be perfectly sung. Their music is found in the heart. They are songs remembered through personal experience, revealing their burdens through the shadows of the past, and soaring on the wings of yesterday. … Therefore, dear soul, in this life you are receiving a music lesson from your Father. You are being trained to sing in a choir you cannot yet see, and there will be parts in the chorus that only you can sing. … Others have said that He sends sorrow to test you, yet this is not the case. He sends sorrow to educate you, thereby providing you with the proper training for His heavenly choir. … O dear soul, do not despise your school of sorrow. It is bestowing upon you a unique part in the heavenly song [Revelation 14:3].” —George Matheson
I remember visiting Denver, Colorado. The scenery was so breathtaking, so I decided to go for an early morning hike. Quickly I discovered that my hike became breathtaking in more than one way! Even though I was in good shape, I had a hard time getting my breath because of the mile-high atmosphere.
I learned later that this is why many top athletes train in high elevation: it increases their lung capacity and endurance so that they now have an advantage when they compete against others.
God trains us on His mountains, but He made us to live and minister in the valleys. Our ascent into God’s mountaintop presence is so important for godly maturity!
In the first song of ascent, I noticed something unusual in the very first verse. Some Bibles translate the verbs in the present tense (I call on the Lord and He answers me), but some translations use the past tense (I called on the Lord and He answered me). Which is correct? Actually both of them are correct!
The verbs are written in the perfect tense—something done at a specific point in the past, but still relevant and powerful in the present. In other words, we can say it like this, “I called on the Lord in the past and He most definitely answered me. That gives me confidence to call on the Lord today, knowing that He will answer me again.”
But—oh wow!!—check out how God answers us! The word literally means that God answers us in song. God so loves it when you trust Him enough to bring all your cares to Him, that He sings His answer to you. For the Lord your God is living among you. He is a mighty Savior. He will take delight in you with gladness. With His love, He will calm all your fears. He will rejoice over you with joyful songs (Zephaniah 3:17).
If we don’t continue to recall how God has answered us in the past, we’re missing out on the blessing of hearing Him sing His answers over us again today. As a result, we begin to live in the world’s valley-level turmoil and anxiety.
Peace is longed for in verses 6 and 7. The Christian wants to live in peace, but the world loves turmoil. Want proof? Just look at what makes the headlines today! The solution is to keep going back to God again and again and again—
Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends understanding, will guard your hearts and minds in Christ Jesus. (Philippians 4:6-7)
Check out the full message to find the peace you are longing for!