Christmas Carols and the Redemption

The Christmas season is upon us in full swing. This means family gatherings. It means company parties. It means sweets. It means gifts. And, it means singing. Wherever you go, you are sure to hear some of the old familiar Christmas carols. Some of them focus on the mythology surrounding our Christmas traditions (Rudolph and Frosty and Santa Claus). But, many of them focus upon the birth of our King, born in Bethlehem.

If you would pay attention to the words, you will be amazed at how often they point explicitly to the redemption of Christ.  This shouldn’t surprise us, as this is the reason why He came.  “The Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve and to give His life a ransom for many” (Mark 10:45).  Below, I have listed some phrases from some from some of the songs we sing. I encourage you to spend a few moments reflecting upon the truths in these familiar songs.

Come, Thou Long-Expected Jesus, Born to set Thy people free.
… Born Thy people to deliver.

O come, O come, Emmanuel And ransom captive Israel.

(O Little Town of Bethlehem)
O holy child of Bethlehem, Descend on us we pray.
Cast out our sin, and enter in; Be born in us today.

(Go Tell It on the Mountain)
Down in a lowly manger The humble Christ was born
And brought us God’s salvation that blessed Christmas morn.

(How Great Our Joy!)
There shall the Child lie in a stall, This Child who shall redeem us all.

(Joy to the World)
No more let sin and sorrow grow, Nor thorns infest the ground.
He comes to make His blessing flow Far as the curse is found.

Good Christian Men, Rejoice With heart and soul and voice!
Now ye need not fear the grave: Peace! Peace!
Jesus Christ was born to save!

Silent Night! Holy Night, Son of God, love’s pure light
Radiant beams from Thy holy face, With the dawn of redeeming grace.

Hark! The Herald Angels Sing, “Glory to the newborn King;”
Peace on earth, and mercy mild, God and sinners reconciled!
… Mild He lays His glory by, Born that men no more may die.

O Holy Night, the stars are brightly shining;
It is the night of the dear Savior’s birth!
Long lay the world in sin and error pining,
Till He appeared and the soul felt its worth.
A thrill of hope, the weary soul rejoices,
For yonder breaks a new and glorious morn.

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