Let’s Rethink Our Holly-Jolly Christmas Songs - Russell Moore
...We ought to make sure that what we sing measures up with the, as this
fellow would put it, “narrative tension” of the Christmas story.
The first Christmas carol, after all, was a war hymn. Mary of
Nazareth sings of God’s defeat of his enemies, about how in Christ he
had demonstrated his power and “has brought down the mighty from their
thrones and exalted those of humble estate” (Lk. 1:52). There are some
villains in mind there.
Simeon’s song, likewise, speaks of the “fall and rising of many in
Israel” and of a sword that would pierce the heart of Mary herself. Even
the “light of the Gentiles” he speaks about is in the context of
warfare. After all, the light, the Bible tells us, overcomes the
darkness (Jn. 1:5), and frees us from the grip of the devil (2 Cor. 4).
In a time of obvious tragedy, the unbearable lightness of Christmas
seems absurd to the watching world. But, even in the best of times, we
all know that we live in a groaning universe, a world of divorce courts
and cancer cells and concentration camps. Just as we sing with joy about
the coming of the Promised One, we ought also to sing with groaning
that he is not back yet (Rom. 8:23), sometimes with groanings too deep
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