Why We Sing at Christmas

Powerful Motivation to Sing

As we see throughout Revelation, the saints sing specifically in adoration of the glorious, redemptive work of the Lamb of God. For Christians, this is especially important to remember at Christmas. While we may enjoy tunes about Frosty, Rudolph, Santa, a white Christmas, jingle bells and grandma who got run over by a reindeer, we must sing about the real “reason for the season.” To do so honors Christ, is good for our soul, encourages other believers and is great practice for eternity.

Last weekend, Rosemary and I were recaptured by the words of the great hymn “Come Thou Long-Expected Jesus,” written by Charles Wesley. In fact, I downloaded a version on iTunes and have been deeply inspired by these rich lyrics:

Come, Thou long-expected Jesus,
Born to set Thy people free;
From our fears and sins release us,
Let us find our rest in Thee.
Israel’s Strength and Consolation,
Hope of all the earth Thou art;
Dear Desire of every nation,
Joy of every longing heart.

Born Thy people to deliver,
Born a child and yet a King,
Born to reign in us forever,
Now Thy gracious kingdom bring.
By Thine own eternal Spirit
Rule in all our hearts alone;
By Thine all-sufficient merit,
Raise us to Thy glorious throne.

Spirit-Inspired Song

I love that line “By Thine own eternal Spirit, rule in all our hearts alone.” Christians sing when the Spirit of God rules their hearts. The familiar passage is so important: “And do not get drunk with wine, for that is debauchery (a vital command for this Christmas season), but be filled with the Spirit, addressing one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing and making melody to the Lord with your heart” (Ephesians 5:18–19).

When we are controlled by the Holy Spirit we must sing. We sing words of encouragement and exhortation to one another and we make melody in our hearts to God. So, this Christmas, don’t just dial up some playlist that is a mix of the sublime, the ridiculous and the more ridiculous. Rather, ask the Holy Spirit to fill you and let your music be the overflow of His Christ-honoring purposes for your singing.

Gospel-Inspired Song

Colossians 3:16 provides another motivation for our singing: “Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly, teaching and admonishing one another in all wisdom, singing psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, with thankfulness in your hearts to God.” The word of Christ is ultimately the good news of the gospel. Our mouths are open, our melodies are joyful, and our hearts overflow with gratitude for the incarnation, sinless life, death, burial and resurrection of Christ. This is the compulsion for our songs of the season.

So, my redeemed friend, sing this Christmas season. Sing of our Savior. Be filled with the Spirit and let the word of Christ dwell in you richly—and you won’t be able to keep it in.

Copyright © 2017 Daniel Henderson. All rights reserved.

[i] http://www.ttb.org/docs/default-source/Booklets/why-angels-do-not-sing.pdf?sfvrsn=2a

[ii] Ron Owens, Return to Worship: A God–Centered Approach ( Nashville: Broadman and Holman publishers, 1999) 139.

[iii] Newsweek, 30 December 1985, p. 54.

This article originally appeared here.

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As a lead pastor for nearly three decades, Daniel Henderson helped several congregations experience transformation and renewal through an extraordinary commitment to prayer. Daniel now serves as founder and president of Strategic Renewal and is the national director for The 6.4 Fellowship. As a “pastor to pastors,“ he leads renewal experiences in local churches, speaks in a variety of leadership conferences, and coaches pastors across North America and beyond. Daniel is the author of over a dozen books, including, Old Paths, New Power: Awakening Your Church Through Prayer and the Ministry of The Word, Transforming Prayer: How Everything Changes When You Seek God’s Face, Transforming Presence: How The Holy Spirit Changes Everything - From The Inside Out, and Glorious Finish: Keeping Your Eye on the Prize of Eternity in a Time of Pastoral Failings.