It’s that time of year again - Carols time! You can’t turn on the radio, walk into the supermarket or turn on the TV without hearing one Christmas tune or another. However, what should be obvious to all of us is that not every Christmas Carol is created equal. There are many Christmas tunes that seem to come under the broad banner of ‘Carol’ these days but do they all deserve to be there? What makes a good carol really?
I was in the supermarket last week and heard “Here comes Santa Claus, here comes Santa Claus, right down Santa Claus lane”. I’m pretty sure there is no Santa Claus lane but I found myself humming along to the catchy tune anyway. Then I started wondering whether the true meaning of Christmas would get a mention anywhere. Towards the end of the song God finally gets a mention: “we are all God’s children” says the song. But that is about as far as the tune goes to explaining the true meaning of Christmas. Still that is more than can be said for Jingle Bells or Santa Claus is coming to town.
What makes a good Carol? I’m not a musician but even I can recognise and love a good tune when I hear one. But when it comes to Carols surely the words are the most important part. Shouldn’t the lyrics go even just a little way towards telling the true story of Christmas?
If we based our understanding of Christmas upon the tunes we hear throughout December it would be all very confusing. Famous (and not so famous) singers extol the praises of Jesus at Carols in the Domain and two minutes later they sing glory to Santa for coming to town. It’s no wonder our society is confused about what Christmas is really about.
So, we are really glad you are able to sing some great Carols with us today. We hope you take the time to dwell upon the words and what they mean as you sing along.
Can any other Christmas song really compare to songs like Joy to the World or Hark the Herald Angels Sing? These classic carols proclaim eternal truths rather than celebrating myths about a big man dressed in red who gives away gifts based on your behaviour during the year. Joy to the World celebrates the coming of the Lord Jesus into the World and it challenges us with the words: “Let earth receive it’s king”. Will you accept Jesus not just as a Christmas baby but as the saviour king of the world?
Hark the Herald Angels Sing proclaims glory to the new born king. It asks us to think about why a baby king could deserve glory from earthly and heavenly beings alike. Then in the next stanza it gives us the wonderful answer: that in Jesus, God and sinners are reconciled. With Santa, token gifts are given based upon your behaviour (well that’s the myth anyway). With Jesus, much more significantly, forgiveness is freely given regardless of behaviour. All those who accept forgiveness are freely given it from the Saviour King.
What makes a great Christmas Carol? There is a simple test. Does it point us to the true meaning of Christmas? That Jesus came into the world so that we might have peace with God through him. Now that is something worth singing about!