A Different Setting

Wednesday, December 5, 2018
Listen to this devotional:
Listen while you read: "Infant Holy Infant Lowly"1 (Lyrics)

Music is a wonderful gift from God. While we enjoy it all year long, I think that it is especially meaningful in December. This is probably because of the number of Christmas carols that we both hear and sing.

While no one on earth can now be certain, I like to imagine Luke's recounting of the first Christmas as describing a huge choir singing a very significant Christmas carol.

Luke 2:13-14 – Suddenly a great company of the heavenly host appeared with the angel, praising God and saying, "Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace to men on whom his favor rests." (NIV)

We do know that George Frideric Handel (1685-1759) included such a chorus in his famous oratorio, "Messiah". Like you, perhaps, I have enjoyed singing it, and I have been thrilled listening to others joining with the heavenly host in saying, "Glory to God!"

A less well-known carol was written in the nineteenth century by Edward Caswell with music by Sir John Goss. There were seven verses but the first two verses and the chorus appear below.

While I had sung the carol previously in Canada where snow is common, some years ago, I sang it in Madras (now Chennai) in India. There, it was certainly a different setting, for the temperature was just over 100 degrees Fahrenheit (almost 40 degrees Celsius)

    See amid the winter's snow,
    Born for us on earth below,
    See, the tender Lamb appears,
    Promised from eternal years.

    Hail, thou ever blessed morn!
    Hail redemption's happy dawn!
    Sing through all Jerusalem,
    Christ is born in Bethlehem.

    Lo, within a manger lies
    He Who built the starry skies;
    He Who, throned in height sublime,
    Sits amid the cherubim.

This December, let's go out of our way to enjoy the beautiful music of Christmas. Attend musical concerts and choral productions. Listen to the lyrics, absorb their meaning, and praise our God and King! More importantly, let us strive to tell the true meaning of Christmas wherever we are.

Prayer: Dear Father, we thank You for wonderful gift of Your Son celebrated on Christmas Day. May we ever be mindful of Your great love that You demonstrated by giving Your Son for our salvation. In His name, we pray. Amen.

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About the author:

Vincent Walter <vwalter@bell.net>
Toronto, Ontario, Canada

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1 Comment

  • PresbyCan Feedback says:

    Thanks, Vincent, for the reminder.

    Thank you, Vincent, for this reminder to enjoy the music of Christmas and its meaning.

    Vincent, thank you for sharing this devotional with us. Praise God for the sending Jesus Christ so many years ago. Blessings.

    Thank you for reminding us to enjoy all the auditory parts of this holy season. May God bless you and your family this Christmas.

    Good Morning, Vincent,
    This past Sunday our church choir sang the cantata “Bluegrass Christmas” by Joseph Martin. You would love the rendition of “Hail, thou ever blessed morn.” In fact, you would probably enjoy the whole performance. It was done in Carnegie Hall last year in its debut. It is fun and beautiful.
    It is technically called “Rhapsody in Bluegrass” and it is on You Tube.

    Hello my friend
    I read this to the end and reading it I had a feeling it was written by you. I do not know how to explain it but it usually happens every time.
    We just went to a concert – Christmas songs and other songs, especially different versions of Ava Maria. the Soprano and tenor and piano were fantastic to listen to. I was not expecting that kind of music but wow, I didn’t want it to end and with those voices to hear them sing ‘Christ is born’ in one of the songs, wow!!! They are well known and came over from the Continent.
    I pray at this special time of the year, you are surrounded by God’s blessings, as He uses you to bless others in ways maybe you do not realize.
    As I am writing this… I get the word, ‘warmth’ .. you are surrounded by warmth, wherever you go you give the feeling of warmth
    God bless you Vince!!

    Thank you, Vincent Walter, for a very precious devotional. God is present here and in India. May he be so present on earth that persons will sing and worship.
    Keep writing.

    Hi Vincent,
    Good devotional, the carols of Christmas, and I mean CAROLS, not the other favorite Christmas songs, have such a wonderful message and some of them are “Sermons” just on their own.

    Hello Vince
    Thanks for sharing the Daily Devotional with its reference to the beautiful carols we hear and sing at this time of year. Because I have been in Madras at least ten times over the last 35 years your message brought back a lot of memories of that city. I remember the heat and I remember going to a church on Sunday that had no doors or windows and the traffic on the roads close by made it hard for me to concentrate even though the sermon was in English, but the people were both friendly and hospitable, as one would expect, particularly at Christmas.
    I hope that you are keeping well and enjoy a “happy holiday season” with family.

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