Advent, Brokenhearted Theology, Church, Ramblings, Worship

Justice and Renewal…found in old hymns and carols?

Confession: I do not know most of the words to Christmas songs.  Sometimes I cannot remember off the top of my head whether a song is about Santa Claus or Jesus (hint: most of the non-cheesy ones are about Jesus).

Last night at our worship gathering, we sang a few traditional carols and I remembered how much I love these words that I too often do not know.

Check out the last verse of It Came Upon the Midnight Clear (which I swore was about Santa and his sleigh):

For lo!, the days are hastening on,
By prophet bards foretold,
When with the ever-circling years
Comes round the age of gold
When peace shall over all the earth
Its ancient splendors fling,
And the whole world give back the song
Which now the angels sing.

And the last stanza of O Holy Night:

Truly He taught us to love one another;
His law is love and His Gospel is peace.
Chains shall He break for the slave is our brother
And in His Name all oppression shall cease.
Sweet hymns of joy in grateful chorus raise we,
Let all within us praise His holy Name!

As it turns out, we are not the first generation to care about social justice or have a holistic understanding of the gospel’s renewal and restoration.  Who would have guessed?


One thought on “Justice and Renewal…found in old hymns and carols?

  1. Maria says:

    Thanks Dave- this proves two things (1) we should sing more old hymns and (2) we should sing christmas songs all year round.

    Ok, the truth? My favorite line in any Christmas song is “Chains shall He break for the slave is our brother.” I wait for it all through O Holy Night. Really, you’ll see a big smile on my face every time we sing it. Why? Because it points to the radical reordering and redemption of broken relationships and injustice… it points to Philemon and Onesimus and the power of the cross.


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