One of the best things about classic Christmas hymns is how good they are at biblical theology, of grasping how the incarnation fits in the story of the whole Bible. Many of these songs are filled with allusions to Old Testament texts which people today often miss, and these songs often connect Christ’s coming with the ultimate consummation of all things. They also contain profound doctrinal reflection on the incarnation, salvation and other themes. Singing these songs with your church and your family is a great way to help people catch this overall picture of the storyline of the Bible.
Charles Wesley was particularly good at this as can be seen in his song, “Hark the Herald Angels Sing.” We typically sing the first three verses which are rich and profound. However, the next two verses, which are often skipped, continue this richness tying in the promise of Gen 3:15 and Pauline Second Adam Christology. Wow!
Come, Desire of nations, come,
Fix in us Thy humble home;
Rise, the woman’s conqu’ring Seed,
Bruise in us the serpent’s head.
Now display Thy saving power,
Ruined nature now restore;
Now in mystic union join
Thine to ours, and ours to Thine.
Adam’s likeness, Lord, efface,
Stamp Thine image in its place:
Second Adam from above,
Reinstate us in Thy love.
Let us Thee, though lost, regain,
Thee, the Life, the inner man:
O, to all Thyself impart,
Formed in each believing heart.
These hymns are a rich treasure of the church. Let us make use of them for ourselves, our families and our churches to help us contemplate fully and faithfully the marvelous saving work of God in Christ this Christmas.
The promise of Genesis 3:15 is what Timothy responded with today when Aaron asked the kids if they knew any OT prophecies about Jesus.