Christmas Carol Service  

I attended a school Christmas Carol concert last night. What a joy it was! As ever, I was impressed by the depth of truth contained in many popular (and not so popular) Christmas carols. The good news of God’s grace towards us was beautifully communicated.

Christmas Carol Service

As to Jesus’ identity we were left in no doubt:

He came down to earth from heaven,
Who is God and Lord of all
And His shelter was a stable,
And His cradle was a stall.

 Surely this is a wonder. God truly came down. The eternal Son, co-equal with the Father, entered our world. But what motivated the Father to send Him? What caused Him to come?  

Love, love, love; great is God’s mighty love!
He left His throne in heaven above,
And came to earth to show His love.
Love, love, love; great is God’s mighty love!  

“In this the love of God was manifested toward us, that God has sent His only begotten Son into the world, that we might live through Him” (1 John 4:9). “For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life” (John 3:16).  

In heaven He was adored and worshipped but here He was despised and rejected. What a tender love was His:

 Thus to come from highest bliss
Down to such a world as this! 

Mary “brought forth her firstborn Son, and wrapped Him in swaddling cloths, and laid Him in a manger” (Luke 2:7). Her wonderful privilege was recognised; she carried in her womb no less a person than God’s Son. We sang together the question: 

 Mary, did you know that your baby boy
Would save our sons and daughters?
Did you know that your baby boy
Has come to make you new?
This child that you delivered, will soon deliver you. 

As the angel announced at His birth, the One who came was “a Saviour, who is Christ the Lord” (Luke 2:11). Even Mary needed the salvation He came to provide.   

How would this salvation be provided? My favourite part of the Carol Service was the singing of a song I’d never heard before: 

The shepherds come and bow to him,
The Lamb who takes away our sin,
This is Immanuel.
For God has entered time and space
To show the world his endless grace,
This is Immanuel.

It is a wonder that the Son of God lay in a manger. It is an even greater wonder that He hung on a cross. This was the “Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world!” (John 1:29) and, in order to do that, He voluntarily made His way from Bethlehem to Calvary to act as our substitute and endure our punishment.

It was only right that, before the end of the service, we sang:  

O come, let us adore Him;
O come, let us adore Him;
O come, let us adore Him, Christ, the Lord!

One sad thought that occurred to me on the night was that, what was so real and precious to me, likely meant little to most of those who attended. Many were happy to enjoy the music and watch their children sing but had little grasp of the truth behind the tradition. For that reason, I found myself praying that someone in that crowd would be challenged by the truth that they were hearing. I was delighted when we sang the challenge:

So what will be your answer?
Will you hear the call?
Of Him who did not spare His Son
But gave Him for us all 

What about you? What will be your answer to God and to Christ? Are you happy to draw near to God with your lips while your heart is far from Him? Why not, this Christmas season, admit to God the problem of your sin, thank God for the provision of His Son to be your Saviour, and deliberately receive Christ by faith as your personal Lord and Saviour.

 This is our God, seen by our eyes,
The love of the Father made known in Jesus Christ.
This is our God, worthy of praise,
The love of the Father revealed on Christmas day.