I have seen several FaceBook posts about those Christmas songs that some of us may find annoying…you know, the ones that you can’t stand to hear and you can’t wait for them to go away after Christmas. (I’m not naming any names here!) Then there are those Christmas songs that I think we could and should continue to sing year round. One such song is “Joy to the World” by Isaac Watts. It isn’t even written about specifically about the nativity narrative in Luke 2; it is inspired by Psalm 98.
“Shout for joy to the Lord, all the earth, burst into jubilant song with music; make music to the Lord with the harp, … shout for joy before the Lord, the King … Let the rivers clap their hands, let the mountains sing together for joy; let them sing before the Lord, for he comes to judge the earth.” (Ps 98:4-9 NIV)
Another Christmas song that could (and perhaps should) be sung year round is “Hark the Herald Angels Sing” by Charles Wesley, as it contains deep, theological lyrics about Jesus and the wonder of the incarnation, especially in the second verse.
Veiled in flesh the Godhead see; Hail the incarnate deity
Pleased as man with men to dwell; Jesus our Emmanuel
God, the Creator of all things, veiled Himself with his own creation in order to live among us, as one of us, to become “Emmanuel” –God with us. He “took on flesh and became human and chose to live alongside us” (John 1:14 VOI). Wesley says He was “pleased as man with men to dwell.” This phrase reminds me of another song about Jesus found in Paul’s letter to the Philippians:
Jesus, “who, being in very nature God, did not consider equality with God something to be used to his own advantage; rather, he made himself nothing by taking the very nature of a servant, being made in human likeness. And being found in appearance as a man, he humbled himself by becoming obedient to death –even death on a cross!” (Phil. 2:6-8 NIV).
Jesus is God –there is none higher, there is none greater. And yet He voluntarily humbled Himself and gave up His position and privilege to be “veiled in flesh” and become one of His own creation, to live on the earth as one of us. And He was pleased to do this because it was necessary in order for us to be adopted into His family. “God decided in advance to adopt us into his own family by bringing us to himself through Jesus Christ. This is what he wanted to do, and it gave him great pleasure” (Eph 1:5 NLT).
Can we even begin to fathom all that Jesus gave up when He came and dwelt among us, when He become “veiled in flesh” to become “Jesus, our Emmanuel.” How can we begin to thank Him for all that He did for us? I would encourage you never to let a day go by without offering Him thanks and praise for He who is and what He has done for you, and never forget that He is Emmanuel --- God with us. This is something we can sing and shout for joy about all year long!