Tuesday, December 10, 2013

Christmas Carol Gospel - Hark! The Herald Angels Sing

The Gospel According to (Christmas) Carol
Hark! The Herald Angels Sing

(Be sure to read the introduction to this series.)

Gospel means "good news". The Good News of Christmas is that, even though we are separated from God spiritually, He still wants to be with us. And how God solves that problem is utterly unique.

Our separation from God began in the Garden of Eden when Adam & Eve ate the forbidden fruit. But let's not put all the blame on them, you and I also have "come short of the glory of God" and deserve our separation from Him.

Before I get to this week's carol, let me share a couple lines from some golden oldies with you.
"I can't live if living is without you"
(Without You, Harry Nilsson)

"I'd rather live in his world
Than live without him in mine"
(Midnight Train to Georgia – Gladys Night)

The human heart well knows the agony of separation. Separation from the one we love causes a gnawing emptiness, an unrelenting distress and it makes us consider, day and night, how to reunite with our beloved. Well, we are created in God's image, yes?  How do you think He feels about being separated from the ones He loves?

And there is the Good News! Even though we were separated from God, He came to seek and to save us. Those Herald Angels saying "Hark!" call us to consider the profound effort God achieved to be with us again. You see, we were lost. In fact, we were so separated from God that we didn't even know we were lost. So, God came down into our dimension of life.

Enjoy Acapella's version of this carol.

These two lines give me goosebumps:
"Veiled in Flesh the God-head see; Hail the incarnate Deity"
"Pleased, as man, with men to dwell, Jesus our Immanuel"

God is spirit (John 4:24) so for the Creator and Sustainer of the entire universe to put on the human costume must be terribly uncomfortable and limiting. Consider what the Apostle Paul says Jesus' Godness: For in Him [Jesus] all the fullness of Deity dwells in bodily form. (Colossians 2:9) Paul also talks about Jesus' profound humility to lay aside all the rights and privileges of the "King of kings" to walk around the dust and mud, the summer heat, the winter cold of ancient Israel.

But, even in His crude kit of human flesh and bones, we still realized that He is God… God. With. US!!! That's what "Immanuel" means. John writes: And the Word became flesh, and dwelt among us, and we saw His glory, glory as of the only begotten from the Father, full of grace and truth. (John 1:14)

See, that was the whole point. God loved us so much, and hated being separated from us so much, that He came down here to be with us. He couldn't live without us in His world, so He came to live with us in ours! But even in His human "veil", there was no denying that Jesus fully and wholly embodied the full grace and truth of God in heaven.

And some great day we'll see Jesus without that veil. Maranatha!

Next week's carol: Joy to the World

Bonus: Here is a nice post about the history of several most-beloved carols.

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