Why We Sing at Christmas

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The church’s song goes on and on, singing and ringing down to us today.

“Not only is there music in heaven, there is also heaven in music.” -Peter Kreeft

God’s story of salvation begins and ends with singing. The singing of the angels at creation to the singing of God’s people in the new creation.

The song of creation began when “all the morning stars sang together and all the angels sang for joy” (Job 38). The song continued as people praised God, called upon his name, and offered sacrifices to him: from Noah to Abraham, to Isaac and Jacob, and to Moses. In the exodus, we find the first recorded song in the Bible, the Song of the Sea, sung after the children of Israel came up out of the land of Egypt across the Red Sea and on to dry land.

“I will sing unto the Lord for he has triumphed gloriously, the horse and rider are thrown into the sea. The Lord is my strength and my song, for he has become my salvation” (Ex. 15:1-2a).

The song continued with David and Solomon, through the Psalms and the Proverbs, and the Song of Solomon. The Servant Songs in the book of Isaiah speak of a future deliverance for Israel and a coming Savior for God’s people. There are also songs of praise and thanksgiving after the return from exile in Babylon.

After the time of the prophets, however, there were 400 years of no word from the Lord and no song to sing. And then, on a silent night in Judah’s hills, a cry was heard. Glory sang the angel chorus! Glory echoed back the night! Love has come to walk among us, Christ the Lord is born this night! “Glory to God in the highest, and peace to his people on earth!” (Luke 2:14).

The song continued through Zechariah’s Benedictus, Mary’s Magnificat, and Simeon’s Nunc Dimittis. On to Palm Sunday when the crowd sang, “Blessed is the One who comes in the name of the Lord! Hosanna in the highest!” And then came the first Christian confession, “Christ is Risen!” on Easter Sunday morning, followed soon after by “Jesus is Lord!’

In the Epistles, the Apostle Paul breaks forth into song at times. At the end of Romans Chapter 11, he comes to the end of human knowledge as he peers into the mystery of God’s wisdom. And in Philippians 2, he shares the beautiful Carmen Christi, the Hymn to Christ, the Lord.

The church’s song goes on and on, singing and ringing down to us today. In our hymns, in our liturgy, and in the lives of God’s people in every nation, tribe, culture, and language, we hear the proclamation of the gospel of Christ Jesus. The song goes on – not only at the Christmas season – but to the end of days into eternity, when we will together with all God’s people sing, “Praise and glory and honor and wisdom and power and might be to our God forever and ever. Amen!”

All creation sings his praises
Earth and heaven praise his name
All who live come join the chorus
Find the words his love proclaim

(Michael W Smith, Anthem For Christmas)