I wonder sometimes of we really listen to the hymns we sing in church.
Take Christmas for example. We have been singing them all our life we hear them at Christmastime in church, in the stores and malls, and on the radio. Familiar songs we love to sing. But do we listen to them any more carefully than Jingle Bells, Santa Claus is Coming to town or Rudolph the Red-nosed Reindeer ( I won’t mention the one about Mommy kissing Santa Claus!)
But do we realize the whole story of the miraculous birth of Jesus is chronicled in the hymns we sing? That first Christmas night “Away in a manger”; the announcement of His birth by the angels. “Angels We Have heard on High”, the story of sin and suffering and wars, and ‘life’s crushing load’ and what the prophets foretold. But now we hear the angels sing, “It Came upon a Midnight Clear” and the invitation to come worship and adore this new-born King “O Come All Ye Faithful.”
Hymns are written about the lowly shepherds that were told of this historic event and how wise men came to greet Him.
And the conclusion “The Lord has come to rule the world in truth and grace.” Joy to the World and “How Great is Our Joy” How much meaning there is to just those two songs!!
Or look at the hymns of the crucifixion. Follow the message: “Did my Savior die for the crimes I have done? I dissolve my heart in thankfulness and give myself away at the cross. At the Cross and “On a hill faraway stood an old rugged cross where Jesus suffered and died to pardon and sanctify me.” And “What can wash away my sin, nothing for sin atone, Nothing but the Blood of Jesus.”
But then : Christ the Lord is Risen today, lives again our glorious king, love’s redeeming work is done” and “Raise your joys and triumphants high, dying once He all did save. The birds that sang, the flowers that bloomed, brought no joy that day until God raised Him up, our living Lord and made the First Lord’s Day. We sing for joy with loving thanks that first Lord’s Day. And “Alleluia, Give Thanks to the risen Lord, alleluia give praise to His name. (But other songs are of Easter bonnets in a parade and advertising helicopters dropping Easter eggs.)
There are many hymns that tell the story of the birth, death and resurrection of our Lord and Savior. If only we would listen intently and sincerely to each event of His life sung in the hymns. We can learn so much from the old hymns that were written according to the Scriptures. It is a lesson that could revive us and renew our faith in Jesus each year.
Pick up a hymnal some day and browse through the sections on the birth, death and resurrection of Jesus.