The history of Christmas carols is wonderfully interesting. In 375 A.D. Christians first recognized December 25 as Christmas Day. At this point in time, however, there were no “Christmas carols” but rather the people sang hymns. Hymns were considered to be more solemn and religious in nature. Carols, on the other hand, were considered dances accompanied by music. One of the earliest Christmas hymns, of which we are aware, was likely “Jesus Refulsit Omnium” (“Jesus, Light of All the Nations”), written by St. Hilary of Poitier in the 4th century.
Another early Christmas hymn is “Corde natus ex Parentis” (“Of the Father’s Love Begotten). Christian poet Aurelius Clemens Prudentius wrote the Latin poem that inspired this song in the 5th century, but it wasn’t set to music until centuries later. When it was set to music, the tune used was entitled “Divine Mysterium”.
In Luke 9 we read of the account of Jesus’ Transfiguration. As the three disciples were thinking of making booths to Jesus, Elijah and Moses, they heard God speak:
And a voice came out of the cloud, saying, “This is my Son, my Chosen One; listen to him!”Luke 9:35
In Matthew 3 we read of Jesus baptism by John, as follows:
And when Jesus was baptized, immediately he went up from the water, and behold, the heavens were opened to him, and he saw the Spirit of God descending like a dove and coming to rest on him; and behold, a voice from heaven said, “This is my beloved Son, with whom I am well pleased.”Matthew 3:16-17
God’s love for His Son is clearly documented in Scripture. That love existed from eternity past and it will continue forever, as the resurrected Christ is now seated beside the Father interceding with the Father on behalf of His people.
Listen to this beautiful, age-old Christmas hymn as sung on the album “Hymns for All Saints: Advent, Christmas & Epiphany” by Concordia Publishing House 2005. The hymn is sung by a traditional a cappella choir. The words of the hymn are shown along side beautiful stained glass windows showing a variety of nativity-related scenes. Let the message and the glory of the hymn sink into your consciousness as you listen to the words and music.
Beloved, even though COVID-19 likely will make celebrating Christmas with family and friends difficult, celebrating the birth of the Lord Jesus Christ can be done in the quiet of your own heart and soul. Praise God the Father for the gift of His Son. Praise the Lord Jesus Christ for leaving His home in heaven and coming to this sin-ridden world to save us from our sins. Praise the Holy Spirit for His guiding us to God through faith in His Son.
Christ is the risen Lord and Redeemer of His people. Praise Him always, and especially at this season celebrating the His incarnation.
Father, help me to celebrate the birth of Christ during this difficult time with a pandemic raging, and social and political unrest overwhelming us at every turn. May the peace of Christ be with us in our celebration whether it be in a large group or individually. May the joy of Christmas be with us and may the light of Christmas be evident in our visage and in our interactions with others.