Hail, the Incarnate Deity

Sometimes I think lyrics to most songs go in one ear and out the other. This, of course includes our hymns and songs of praise to God. Too often, I think we read and sing off the lyrics to the songs we sing in church, or even at home or in the car, without really thinking about what those words really mean. I may sound like your high school choir teacher, but let’s really think about the words to some of these songs, especially this Christmas season.

This struck me while driving in my car tonight, listening to a Christian Christmas station I had found. Like usual, I found myself singing along to the ones I knew when “Hark, The Herald” began to play.  I have always loved the line of that song “Veiled in flesh, the Godhead see. Hail, the incarnate deity,” but I found myself thinking carefully about all the words of that song and what they were saying about the birth of Christ.

Not only was it humbling to realize that I have so often sung the words to this classic Christmas hymn and not thought about them, but it was also awe-inspiring to feel the power in those lyrics as if it were the first time hearing them. Most of us have heard these Christmas songs every year for our whole lives, and the same goes for many other religious hymns. When was the last time you let the words wash over you and feel the meaning of the words God speaks to us and through us? Let’s do that this Christmas!

Negatively, we need do to be careful that we don’t do this with secular songs as well. It’s so easy to learn the lyrics and sing along to the songs we hear on secular radio every day, but here again, we should be thinking about the lyrics to those songs. Often worldly music has dangerous and spiritually harmful lyrics that we should not be overlooking and singing along to.

Positively, we should think about the words to the Christian songs we sing regularly. This includes the songs we sing in church, choir songs at school or church practices, or programs and CD music we may listen to. Songs we all know well like “Amazing Grace” or “Be Thou My Vision” have incredibly powerful lyrics that we would do well to take to heart. It’s amazing to realize what some of these songs are saying!

Over the next week or so, church and Sunday School Christmas programs will be taking place. Here’s my challenge. Since those programs are often a time when we hear many of these classic songs we often sing without thinking about, really listen to the words this year. Watch and be awestruck as your son, daughter, cousin, niece, nephew or other relation sings out the amazing lyrics of these songs like “Be near me Lord Jesus, I ask Thee to stay close by me forever,” or  “The hopes and fears of all the years are met in Thee tonight.” It really is a beautiful time of year, isn’t it?

Suzie Kuiper


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