Tell the Story of the Glory

The Christmas carols begin every year about mid-November, and by December 25 all you want for Christmas is a good pair of earplugs. You hear them at the shopping mall. You hear them in elevators. You hear them when you’re put on hold while ordering duck decoys for Uncle Irv. The result is that even our most beloved holiday hymns are stripped of their power to move us because of the sheer, endless repetition. They’ve become the musical equivalent of plastic reindeer. Besides, it’s hard to capture the mystery of Christmas when everyone from Miss Piggy to Alvin and the Chipmunks is warbling these familiar tunes. May I suggest that you and your family spend some time this Christmas exploring some unfamiliar holiday music—ancient carols that help us understand how Christians through the centuries have communicated the meaning of Christmas through song. For example, there’s a 300-year-old English carol called “Up Good Christian Folk and Listen.” The song includes these lyrics   Tell the story Of the Glory. God came down At Christmastide.   In barely one minute this carol tells us almost everything we need to know about Christmas—a trick few of us preachers can manage in an hour. Then there’s the fifteenth-century German carol, “Lo, How a Rose E’er Blooming.” This hymn covers most of the same theological and aesthetic ground as “Silent Night,” and it emphasizes an essential part of God’s nature—His faithfulness: Isaiah ’twas foretold it, the Rose I have in Mind; of Mary we behold it, the Virgin mother kind. Through the prophets, God promised us that a Savior would arise from the line of Jesse. In the fullness of time, as the apostle Paul put it, God kept His promise. Reflecting on the meaning of the Incarnation should be the goal of every Christian in the days leading up to Christmas. The church has traditionally used this season to recall Jesus’ first coming and to meditate on His second coming. And music is a rich part of this tradition, which is why exploring faith as expressed through song is a wonderful way to begin meditating on the real meaning of Christmas. So when the commercialized, overworked sound of Miss Piggy attacking Christmas carols makes you want to say, Bah! Humbug!, try sampling some of the music that has brought Christians closer to God for hundreds of years. Music that “tells the story of the Glory.”


Chuck Colson



  • Facebook Icon in Gold
  • Twitter Icon in Gold
  • LinkedIn Icon in Gold

Sign up for the Daily Commentary