The First Christmas Carol Was a War Hymn

Let’s rethink our holly-jolly Christmas songs:

The first Christmas carol, after all, was a war hymn. Mary of Nazareth sings of God’s defeat of his enemies, about how in Christ he had demonstrated his power and “has brought down the mighty from their thrones and exalted those of humble estate” (Lk. 1:52). There are some villains in mind there.

Simeon’s song, likewise, speaks of the “fall and rising of many in Israel” and of a sword that would pierce the heart of Mary herself. Even the “light of the Gentiles” he speaks about is in the context of warfare. After all, the light, the Bible tells us, overcomes the darkness (Jn. 1:5), and frees us from the grip of the devil (2 Cor. 4).

In a time of obvious tragedy, the unbearable lightness of Christmas seems absurd to the watching world. But, even in the best of times, we all know that we live in a groaning universe, a world of divorce courts and cancer cells and concentration camps. Just as we sing with joy about the coming of the Promised One, we ought also to sing with groaning that he is not back yet (Rom. 8:23), sometimes with groanings too deep for lyrics.

The whole piece here.

 

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About Fr Stephen Smuts

TAC Priest in South Africa.
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2 Responses to The First Christmas Carol Was a War Hymn

  1. starsword says:

    Reblogged this on starsword and commented:
    Jesus came to Earth on a sneaking covert assault mission! It was totally undercover, totally to topple a devilish government of Satan over all the kings of the Earth!

  2. Indeed this was/is a spiritual war! And now our only weapons are Christ’s Death, Resurrection and Ascension! To be ‘In Christ’ as St. Paul says, we must “Put on the full armor of God, so that you will be able to stand firm against the schemes of the devil.” (Eph. 6: 11) Surely Paul knew who the great enemy of God was… “so that no advantage would be taken of us by Satan, for we are not ignorant of his schemes.” (2 Cor. 2:11). But today in this time of the 21st century, it appears that much of the Church is quite asleep, and we have forgotten who’s “fragrance” we are to be…”For we are a fragrance of Christ to God among those who are being saved and among those who are perishing; to the one an aroma from death to death, to the other an aroma from life to life. And who is adequate for these things? For we are not like the many, peddling the word of God, but as from sincerity, but as from God, we speak in Christ in the sight of God.” (2 Cor. 2: 15-17)

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