a vestige of thought...

Wednesday, December 05, 2007

"I celebrate the day..."

"...that You were born to die, so that one day I could pray for You to save my life."
~Relient K, I Celebrate the Day

Every Christmas season I have a new favorite Christmas song. There is always some line that sticks out to me that God uses to teach me something new about His coming to earth as a man. In previous years it has been lines like "God and sinners reconciled" and "ransom captive Israel" or entire songs like "What Child is This?", "O Holy Night" and "O Come All Ye Faithful". Although the Advent season is only a few days old, I think this years' song is going to be of a different sort. The line above seems to capture what I am learning this year. Jesus didn't just come to earth, but he came with a purpose. He came came to die so that I could be transformed from death into life. That connection between the manger and the cross is something that I have always known about but never thought about much. It's something that is often forgotten in our traditional Christmas hymns as well. There are a few ("ris'n with healing in his wings" for example) that we sing regularly, and a few more that are less well known. Take this rarely-sung additional chorus to "What Child is This?":

Nails! Spear! shall pierce him through
The cross be born for me, for you
Hail, hail the Word made flesh
The babe the son of Mary

Or these virtually unknown verses of "Hark the Herald Angels Sing":

Come, Desire of nations, come,
Fixinus Thy humble home!
Rise, the Woman's conquering Seed,
Bruise in us the Serpent's head!
Now display Thy saving power,
Ruined nature now restore,
Now in mystic union join.
Thine to ours, and ours to Thine!

Adam's likeness, Lord, efface;
Stamp Thy image in its place;
Second Adam from above,
Reinstate us in Thy love!
Let us The, though lost, regain,
Thee, the Life, the Heavenly Man:
O! to all Thyself impart,
Formed in each believing heart!

And a few from Charles Wesley's hymn collection Hymns for the Nativity of Our Lord:

"Angels speak, let man give ear"

3. Welcome tidings! To retrieve us
From our fall,
Born for all,
Christ is born to save us.

4. Born his creatures to restore,
Abject earth,
Sees his birth,
Whome the heavens adore.

9. Sing we with the host of heaven,
By a child,
Who to us is given.

"Let Earth and Heaven Combine"

5. He deigns in flesh to appear,
Widest extremes to join,
To bring our vileness near,
And make us all divine;
And we the life of God shall know,
For God is manifest below.

"Join All Ye Joyful Nations"
(not necessarily about what I was talking about, but I just like it)

3. Go see the King of glory,
Discern the heavenly stranger,
So poor and mean,
His court an inn,
His cradle is a manger:

Who from his Father's bosom,
But now for us descended,
Who built the skies,
On earth he lies,
With only beasts attended.

5. Gaze on that helpless object
Of endless adoration!
Those infant hands
Shall burst our bands,
And work out our salvation;

Strangle the crooked serpent,
Destroy his works for ever,
And open set
The heavenly gate
To every true believer.

Soli Deo Gloria

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posted by Christy at 8:54 AM


Hi Christy, I came across your post while researching for an advent sermon on the connection between manger and cross - thanks for posting!

3:55 AM  

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