Depending on where you are at this moment, it’s either Christmas Eve or actually Christmas. It’s the day where the birth of Jesus is celebrated by millions around the world. Even those who don’t believe in the birth of Jesus rejoice, because of potential income derived from retail sales of everything from food to family pictures, from the functional to the frivolous. Getting something on sale is all the justification some need for purchasing that item that comes with buyer’s remorse, sometimes after the bill arrives.
But what about all the Christmas music being played? Stores, stations, and sidewalks sound forth songs of the season. Songs which have become Christmas “staples” include: Silent Night, Away in a Manger, The First Noel, O Little Town of Bethlehem, and O Holy Night-my favorite-to name but a few.
With any song, words are important. Such is certainly the case with each Christmas song, some which date back over 200 years. While I enjoy most Christmas carols, I respectfully disagree with many lyrics which I hear and/or have sung as part of group caroling.
The following are parts of songs which are clearly out of line with the Bible:
Away in a Manger: “No crib for a bed” makes Joseph out to be poor, which he, as a carpenter, certainly wasn’t. Paying yearly taxes made for lots of rooms being used, resulting in Joseph having a stable being used for lodging. As a carpenter, he made a good living, resulting in him prospering. The hotels of the day were simply booked full.
We Three Kings: Who says there were only three kings? There could have been dozens for all we know. Perhaps the song mentions three due to gold, frankincense, and myrrh (three items) being brought. It’s not ours to speculate on how many kings there were, but rather to let our focus be on the birth of Jesus.
What Child is This: The child Jesus isn’t the same as baby Jesus. Manger scenes show kings bowing before Jesus, laid in a manger. In truth, the kings found the child Jesus at around two years old. It took them that long to make the journey from the Far East to where Jesus lived. This helps to explain why King Herod ordered all male children, aged two and under, to be killed-not just all male babies.
The First Noel: “was to certain poor shepherds…” Who says the shepherds were poor? This carol also refers to “…a cold winter’s night.” Jesus wasn’t born on December 25th; it’s the day set aside to celebrate His birth. In reality Jesus was born when it was warmer.
While I could go on and on, suffice to say that Christmas carols ought not be relied upon for biblical accuracy. Enjoy them, for sure. Go caroling, sing your favorite carols in church and home, and really enjoy celebrating the birth of Jesus, the Savior of the world.
Just base your faith on what the Bible actually says, rather than “Christmas Theology.”
Merry Christmas, everyone.