On Christmas night all Christians sing to hear the news the angels bring. On Christmas night all Christians sing to hear the news the angels bring. News of great joy, news of great mirth. News of our merciful King’s birth.
Another processional hymn, the Sussex Carol is among those songs traditionally included in celebrations of Lessons & Carols from year to year. It’s cheerful, lilting melody draws us once again into the story of the Christ-child’s birth.
In this case, the focus is upon the message of the angels that rings out upon the earth: peace on earth and goodwill to all people. The subsequent verses point to other significant things about the child whose birth the angels sing – being set free from sin by our Redeemer, life and wholeness coming to the forgiven, and the light that shines in the darkness.
A key thing to remember throughout the seasons of Advent and Christmas is that the little baby in the manger does not remain an infant. He grows into a prophet who made God’s own self tangibly present in this world. Not only does his life show us how we are to live in this world, but his death and resurrection bring the promised redemption that begins at Christmas – really, from the very beginning of the creation (more on that tomorrow).
The cross does loom over the manger. And yet, it is by his wounds that we are made whole. So we celebrate his birth even as we prepare for the dawning age when he will come again. Therefore, let us give praises for the child for whom the heavenly melody is sung.
All out of darkness we have light which made the angels sing this night. Glory to God and pace to men. Now and forever more. Amen.