One complaint I hear from folks about corporate worship at Christmas is that most of the familiar carols are proclamation, telling the story about God rather than direct spoken praise to God. I too have felt that, and do intentionally look for newer Christmas songs that enable us to declare praise directly to God. Both however are valid expressions of worship, and I have found that mediation upon the profound theology expressed in these songs has drawn my heart to a deeper worship experience when I sing them. To study God (Theology) is to know him more, and nothing at Christmas is more profound to me than the identity of Christ, fully God & fully man. Think about this very familiar chorus, Silent Night. From verse 3:
Son of God, love’s pure light, radiant, beams from Thy holy face with the dawn of redeeming grace, Jesus Lord at Thy birth, Jesus Lord at Thy birth
I love to meditate on the fact that Jesus was born, Lord. “The Son is the radiance of God’s glory and the exact representation of his being, sustaining all things by his powerful word.” (Hebrews 1:3 NIV) John 1, Colossians 1, and Philippians 2 all declare his identity as Lord. Taking pleasure in this very truth as we sing it, feeling a surge of faith, a spark of joy, and sharing like-mindedness and unity with the other worshippers – these are important aspects of worship. We don’t always have to be talking to God. The most important part of the worship service may be listening, letting the Almighty talk to us. Perhaps that’s something we can experience more often within the proclamation and exhortations of the familiar Christmas carols. Our talking back might simply be a whispered, “Thank you,” or “I believe.”
My favorite version of Silent Night is by David Crowder. It has a lovely twist at the end which is in retrospect quite profound. Nothing to watch here; just listen and enjoy!