Like most people, I love this time of year when we celebrate the birth of Jesus Christ and all that comes with it. Unfortunately, I have fallen into the trap of getting caught up in other things and missing the true meaning of Christmas and what that should mean to my faith. It should be a day for me to look back on the love of God and the moment when Christ clothed Himself in the form of a man to come and prepare a way for us for eternity.
One of my favorite things to do in the month of December is listen to Christmas carols — I have music going almost all day. I do like the fun Christmas songs we used to sing when we were kids, such as Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer, Frosty the Snowman, and White Christmas, but over the years I’ve come to appreciate the classic Christmas carols that focus on the birth of Jesus and the events that surround His first coming. Below are some of my favorites:
A man named Rector Phillips Brooks wrote “O Little Town of Bethlehem” in 1868 for his church’s Sunday-school children’s choir. On a visit to Bethlehem, he was inspired to write these words when he looked out over the town from the hills of Palestine one night. We experience what he saw in the opening lyrics: “O little town of Bethlehem / How still we see thee lie / Above thy deep and dreamless sleep / The silent stars go by / Yet in thy dark streets shineth / The everlasting Light, The hopes and fears of all the years / Are met in thee tonight.”
What about “Hark the Herald Angels Sing,” by Charles Wesley? He was the brother of John Wesley, the founder of the Methodist Church. Take some time to think about the lyrics of the second stanza: “Christ by highest heav’n adored / Christ the everlasting Lord! / Late in time behold Him come / Offspring of a Virgin’s womb / Veiled in flesh the Godhead see / Hail the incarnate Deity / Pleased as man with man to dwell / Jesus, our Emmanuel.”
Finally my favorite: “Joy to the World.” This Christmas carol, based on Psalm 98, was written in 1719 by Isaac Watts. Ponder the opening stanza: “Joy to the world, the Lord is come! / Let earth receive her King / Let every heart prepare Him room / And Heaven and nature sing…” Wow, so much in these few short lines. The world is to delight and take pleasure in the coming of Jesus! All that needs to be done for the King to be received is for us to prepare a place in our hearts for Him to occupy.
Take time this year to find the lyrics to your favorite classic Christmas carol and meditate on the truth conveyed to you through the song. I bet you will never sing it the same way again. Christ has prepared a way, all you have to do is prepare a place in your heart for Him. My prayer is that this Christmas we truly understand what it is to have “God with us” — everyday of our lives, not just on December 25th.
— Eddie Taubensee, Director of Increase Baseball
The Increase, part of the Sports Spectrum Network, is a community of Christian pro athletes sharing their personal stories of the decrease of self and the increase of Christ (John 3:30). Visit TheIncrease.com for more stories and videos.