On the third day of Christmas, my true love gave to me… Rather than three French hens, our carol today repeats this line “three” times in each refrain. “O come, let us adore him!” We can adore Christ the Lord in the here and now!
As you read through the lyrics of this carol, let yourself be transported back to Bethlehem. Read Luke 2:8-16. Imagine you’ve tagged along with the shepherds, anxious to see this thing they’ve just heard about.
The second Christmas Carol we’ll reflect on is Silent Night. This beloved carol was written in 1816 by a young priest in Austria, Joseph Mohr. Franz Gruber was the organist responsible for such a memorable melody. I don’t know about you, but when I hear this song, it’s like I’m transported into the closing moments of any Christmas Eve service gone by. The lights go dim, and I stand there in the dark of a silent night, holding my own candle while singing “Silent Night.”
Now that we’re in Mexico, the same tune is used for a very similar song called Noche De Paz, Noche De Amor (Night of Peace, Night of Love). In our worship Christmas Eve this year, I was brought to tears by the lyrics once again! So simple, yet profound!
Our Advent reading today picks up right where yesterday’s left off. Luke doesn’t bring Joseph into Mary’s experience as he writes. I have probably noticed that before, but it really struck me today. Imagine having received the news she did from the angel messenger. Mary needed a trusted friend, her relative Elizabeth, to confide in.
Didn’t you love how Elizabeth greeted Mary! “Why am I so honored, that the mother of my Lord should visit me?” What confirmation for Mary that the angel’s message was true! The two women had so much to share during Mary’s visit! Two pregnant ladies would certainly be able to ride the emotional rollercoaster together. Who better to understand what their bodies were feeling?
In a moment, Mary learned from her visitor (the angel) how her life, and ours, would be changed forever. As we prepare our hearts for Jesus’ coming, both his birth and return, this passage will always be pivotal and precious.
Imagine a young bride-to-be caught up in the excitement of planning a wedding and starting a new life with the man of her dreams. Now in Mary’s time and culture, it’s not necessarily a given that she would be head over heels in love with her husband to be. But in my imagination of the scene, she was feeling a bit giddy for the big day. This visit from the angel would have been quite a game changer, leaving Mary with so much to ponder.
These are the beautiful words prophesied by Zechariah, father of John the Baptist. Picture the scene: Zechariah was finally able to speak after months of being unable. His son had just been born, and he had had an encounter earlier to know that this baby of his would become a great prophet of God.
Imagine how Zechariah was feeling as the Holy Spirit took over and spoke through him. If you’ve ever experienced the Holy Spirit speaking through you, then you know how delightful it is. There is almost a tingling when you realize that your words are suddenly not your own. Zechariah’s voice had been silent for so long, that this would be his first utterance is brilliant!