It has been said that the one gift from heaven that God passed to us directly through the veil is music. We all have favorite melodies that transcend this earthly state, connecting us higher. It is as if the spirit of God speaks directly to or spirit through a language we cannot fully understand yet we find too sacred to deny. No one is excluded from its effect, for it is a pure gift from God meant for all his children to cherish.
Music about the Savior, Jesus Christ, at Christmas time does more than give us cheer—it lifts us to a heavenly plane. Why is this? The melodies are inspired by God. The lyrics celebrate the greatest story ever told—the birth of a Savior who will save all mankind. My non-Christian friends love Christmas carols, too. They may not understand the doctrine of Christianity, but their spirit understands the language of music, expressed in the sacred, timeless carols of the Savior.
As we approach Christmas, I offer you my thoughts on several Christmas carols that so eloquently describe the love I have for the Savior. Perhaps you can find your quiet hide-away and reconnect with the Savior as well, in your own personal way. I invite you to make this a haven of hope, a sanctuary of the spirit, a chance to come closer to Christ.
“Oh Come All ye Faithful” is one of my very favorites. It invites all people to come unto Christ and adore him for who He is—Christ the Lord. No one is excluded from this invitation—the prince nor the beggar, the learned nor the naïve, black nor white, bond nor free. I imagine the scene long ago when the shepherds saw the angel come to them, announcing the Savior’s birth and inviting them to witness the miracle in Bethlehem. I envision a gentle army of humble people following the star that led them to the stable, then bowing at the knee in reverent awe. I see them as the faithful ones who are invited to witness the miracle, who truly rejoice and sing, “Oh come let us adore Him, Christ the Lord!” Knowing what he has done for me all my life, witnessing miracle after miracle of goodness from heaven, I too feel the pull drawing me closer to him, to adore him once again.
“Hark the Herald Angels Sing” joins us in community with the heavenly hosts in celebration of this glorious event. I love how the lyrics paint a vivid picture of countless angels singing the praises of Christ from their perch in heaven looking down on the royal birth. These angels knew Christ personally. They lived with him a short moment ago before his birth. They knew of his goodness and they supported his ministry. They understood the underlying mission and his ultimate sacrifice in ways that we perhaps still cannot comprehend. And they united in harmony singing his praises. This image gives me hope—that while I sometimes struggle with feelings of loneliness in my journey called life, there are angels in the heavens who feel the same way I do about the Savior. I am not alone—I have their support as well. That is a comfort to me in times of trial, knowing that I too can join in their praises when I sing, “Glory to the new born King!”
“Oh Holy Night” brings me to my spiritual knees. It is such a reverent hymn, one that truly personalizes my relationship with the Savior. The music begins softly, humbly describing the night of Christ’s birth. As it builds, so does the hope and promise of a Savior coming into the world. My heart weeps each time I hear the lyrics cry out, “Fall on your knees! Oh hear the angel voices! Oh night divine! Oh night, when Christ was born.” It allows the listener to make their own personal connection with the Savior, one that speaks to the individual in ways that cannot be imitated by others. In many ways it acts as our Savior does, seeking after the one, not resting until it finds the one and brings him home.
If the passing of music from heaven to earth is divinely manifested, then Christmas carols herald in the meaning of the season with a sacredness that cannot be denied. They testify of the holiness of Jesus Christ, from His spirit to ours, giving light where darkness once was and hope to make it through another day. It is my prayer that you find hope in the music that celebrates the birth of our Savior. Allow your heart to seek Him, sing praises to Him, and revere the holiness of His birth, today and always.
Truly, the hymns that focus on the Savior bring us back to the reason for the season.
Nanette O'Neal loves the gospel and is very happy to share her testimony on LDS Blogs. She is a convert to the church and still feels the spirit burn strong within her heart. She graduated from Mason Gross School of the Arts with a degree in music education and has taught children and adults in the private and public sphere for over twenty years. Nanette continues to study the gospel and the art of writing. She writes weekly inspirational articles on her blog and is currently working on an LDS fantasy novel series, A Doorway Back to Forever. You can find her at NanetteONeal.blogspot.com. Nanette has a wonderful husband, talented son, and three beautiful dogs.