Reflections on the Word: Do you hear what I hear?
December 18, 2016
"Do you see what I see?" Wonderful words from a well-known Christmas carol. I like to ponder the meaning of carols. I can hear their message if I listen attentively. What a blessing it is to hear the messages that carols bring. Carols are more than just a wonderful tune — each is like a personal message and a time for worship and meditation. The other night a "traditional" carol was made fresh. Written over 260 years ago by a great preacher, Charles Wesley, it touches on some great theology. "Hark The Herald Angels Sing" has become a favorite among Christians and non-Christians."Hark!" (meaning listen attentively), beckoned me to its message. Allow me to share just a bit of my personal revelation. Imagine listening to a beautiful choir, singing, "Glory to the newborn king!" and declaring "Peace on earth, and mercy mild, God and sinners reconciled!" This newborn child is a King who has come to establish peace between holy God and sinful humans. The songwriter's glad and urgent invitation to all people is to join with the angels in praise and worship of Jesus. "Rise; Join the triumph" proclaimed in the skies extends a genuine offer of salvation to all who will recognize Jesus as Savior and King. Jesus came to earth from heaven, leaving the adoration of the holy angels. "Christ, by highest heaven adored; Christ, the everlasting Lord" emphasizes the majesty Jesus left behind and how He humbled Himself on our behalf. Read of His ultimate act of humility Paul offered in the Hymn to Christ in Philippians 2:6-11 where Jesus exemplifies the ultimate act of humility. God the Son, the pre-existent one, voluntarily humbled and emptied Himself by becoming flesh, and completing His cross-work. "Late in time, behold Him bring" sings of the long time elapsed between the promise of Jesus' coming (Gen. 3:15) in addition to the nearly 400 years "where no prophet had brought a word from God." "Veiled in flesh the incarnate be" sings of our Lord who was "all the fullness of the Deity living in bodily form" (Col. 2:9), thus knowing and experiencing what living on this earth is like. "Hail the heaven-born Prince of Peace!" recalls one of His titles from Isaiah 9:6. "Sun of Righteousness," first used by the prophet Malachi (4:2), emphasizes the majesty of Jesus. He, like the sun, has the light of purity and truth shining forth. "Immanuel" comforts us that God is with us – living, sympathizing, and doing all to save us. He was born so that we could have forgiveness and eternal life, a King whose reign will be marked by "mercy mild" toward those who welcome Him as Savior and Lord. New life and eternal life are promised to all who trust in Jesus. My wish is that you'll be refreshed in your listening to all the carols, and hope that you'll discover a message just for you."Hark!"
Pastor Bill Baltz is a member of the Carson Valley Ministers' Association.