I had the chance last night to attend a Christmas Eve Service at my brother-in-law’s church in Knoxville: Redeemer Presbyterian. Thankfully, they do not share the annoying Baptist tendency to sing only a few verses of the song. (We say, “The first and the last verse;” or “The first, third and forth verses.”) I was reminded of some wonderful truths buried in the verses we don’t usually sing.
“Word of the Father, now in flesh appearing.” - O Come All Ye Faithful, verse 3.
An allusion to the first chapter of John. The wonderful truth that God has freely chosen to reveal Himself to us in the Person of Christ, very God and very man.
“Nails, spear, shall pierce him through; the cross be borne for me, fo you.” – What Child is This, verse 2.
That Christ came to die for us is often ignored by our culture. He came to die for us. He emptied Himself , voluntarily not exercising all of His power and attributes, to pay the ultimate penalty for all who have faith in Him.
“To free all those who trust in Him / From Satan’s power and might.” - God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen, verse 3.
Christ won victory over the guilt of our sin and the power of Satan to hold us in sin’s grip. Christus Victor, Christ the Victor.
“Mild He lays His glory by, born that man no more may die, Born to raise the sons of earth, born to give them second birth.” – Hark! The Herald Angels Sing, verse 3.
Christ has won victory over death and the grave. Our loved ones who die in Him will live again. Death has no victory. Death has lost it’s sting. Christus Victor, indeed!
And last that hit my notice (not all that can be learned, I am sure):
“No more let sins and sorrows grow, Nor thorns infest the ground; He comes to make his blessings flow / Far as the curse is found…” – Joy to the World, verse 3.
The curse earned for us by Adam and Eve has been broken. It can be cast away. We can join Him in exercising dominion over His world.
That God would have us join with Him in this most noble of endeavors blows me away. I hope we can learn to steward our resources, protect our environment, care for those who do not have the necessities of life, and love in practical ways those God created in His image.