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Why Christmas Music is so Important

Christmas would still be wonderful without the music, but the songs we hear and sing each year as we celebrate Jesus’ birth really accent the joy of Christmastime.

The Bible urges us to see that the word of Christ dwells richly within us (Colossians 3:16). With all wisdom, it says, we are to teach and instruct ourselves by using psalms, hymns, and spiritual songs. Music is a powerful tool for communicating spiritual truth. Music is not only helpful in learning Christian truth, it is commanded!

This should not be a surprise. In the pages of the New Testament careful students of God’s word have detected the presence of songs from the Early Church. In one place, lyrics from ancient Christian worship express the sweeping magnitude of Christ stepping down from glory to die on a Roman cross only to be exalted again to the highest place (Philippians 2:5-11).

Another apparent worship song appears in the first letter to Timothy:

Beyond all question, the mystery of godliness is great:
  He appeared in a body,
    was vindicated by the Spirit,
    was seen by angels,
    was preached among the nations,
    was believed on in the world,
    was taken up in glory (1 Timothy 3:16, NIV).

The ancient musical terms in Colossians refer to musical styles long forgotten, but one thing is clear: all types of music should be used in Christian teaching. Psalm 33 exhorts us to sing to the Lord a new song (v. 3). The mixture of both established and innovative songs is part of the wonder, reminding us that the one message of all Christmas songs is the real focus, not a particular style of chords, rhythms, and melodies.

The older Christmas carols that we still sing have stood the test of time. They are the cream of the crop, musically, lyrically, and theologically, expressing both the feelings and the thoughts of that silent night in Bethlehem with almost supernatural precision.

New songs that are well-written and performed infuse a fresh sense of wonder into the ancient story about the manger and swaddling clothes, shepherds and angels. The old hymns and the new choruses combine to tell the one profound account of the Word becoming flesh and dwelling among us.

The instruction in Colossians concludes by calling on us to sing with our hearts to God. Some of us may struggle to get the rhythm just right or hit the proper pitch as we sing the songs of Christmas. But the Bible does not mention anything about great musical performances; rather, it asks for something that comes from inside.

Sing the wonderful music of Christmas. Enjoy your favorites. Learn a new song. And may the word of Christ dwell richly within you. Merry Christmas!

Brother Richard

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Angels and Demons

In the same way that scientists use telescopes and microscopes to see realities about our world that are invisible to our physical eyes, God’s people can use God’s Word to know things about our world that are invisible as well. And in the same way that unseen physical realities can be either life-saving or life-threatening, unseen spiritual realities can be either a wonderful blessing or a terrible curse.

Very early in the Bible we read about three deadly enemies that operate in the unseen spiritual realm. First, we read that Satan deceived Adam and Eve, convincing them to disobey God. Second, we see that Adam and Eve failed because of their own selfish desires, wanting more than what God provided. Third, creation itself was cursed by God because of Adam and Eve’s disobedience. These three dangerous enemies are also known as the Devil, the flesh, and the world.

God’s people still face these same three enemies today. Satan may be invisible to most people, but he is still leading people astray by planting doubts about God’s Word and about God’s goodness. Selfishness and jealousy still drive people to disobedient and destructive acts. And the world we live in is just as broken now as it was when Cain killed Abel. If we ignore these Bible truths, then we will be misled into fighting the wrong enemies, and the result will be terrible defeat and loss.

The Bible also tells us about invisible realities that are forces for good, enabling us to fight the right battle and to win the real victory. Satan and his demons are not the only supernatural beings in this world. Angels are sent by God to help those who are inheriting eternal life. And God’s Holy Spirit, his invisible, powerful, personal, Presence in the hearts of his people, is also working in the world today. God’s Spirit enables God’s people not only to fight the right battles, but to win the greatest victory.

The Bible helps us to understand the true nature of the world in which we live. By devoting ourselves to God’s Word, we can gain wisdom about the struggle that rages all around us. And not only can we understand the real struggle, we can share in the victory that God is even now bringing about, a victory that will be final and complete when Jesus returns. Let’s gain the understanding that God is making available to us and let’s fight the good fight, keep the faith, and enjoy the crown of righteousness that the Lord will award to all those who long for his appearing.

May God’s Word dwell richly in our hearts and may God’s Spirit empower us to share in his eternal victory over Satan, sin, and death,

Brother Richard

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