When asked about my favorite Christmas carol, this one always comes to mind, so I decided it was time to research it.
Unfortunately, my research pointed to NOTHING about why I love it. It was written in 1962 by a married couple, Noel Regney and Gloria Shayne Baker. They wrote it during the Cuban missile crisis as a call for peace. The song was so emotional for them that they had trouble singing it all the way through.
My love for the song is bigger than the desire for peace. Rather, it is about elements of the creation testifying to the coming of their Creator to Earth. And I love the build-up from verse to verse.
In the beginning, the wind is pointing out the star to one of the shepherd’s lambs. It is always telling to me that the creation recognizes God’s existence. I don’t mean to somehow apply personality to inanimate objects, but it is biblical that the creation declares its Creator. I delighted, on my trip to move to Washington, to see the grasses in the unpopulated fields in the middle of the country waving. It made me think of the verse that says that if people don’t praise God, nature will (Luke 19:40). During the crucifixion, it was dark in the middle of the day. I have always thought that even the sun showed the significance of the Son of God dying. So here, in this carol, the wind is pointing out the appearance of a new, super-large star that is proclaiming Jesus’ coming.
Next, the lamb gets the attention of his shepherd. Can you imagine the dark, silent night being shattered by the sound of angels singing? I doubt the lamb would need to tell the shepherd – I mean it was so stunning that the shepherds were frightened.
But then the shepherd shares the news with the king. Now we know from scripture that the kings from the East are the ones who shared the news with Herod, but this verse of the carol presents an unlikely but interesting scenario. Can you imagine a dirty shepherd walking into the palace to share the news of a Savior in a stable with a king…AND THE KING LISTENING? This stanza points out, once again, that God chose to share this great news with the nobodies of the world.
Finally, the king proclaims the great news to his people. In my mind, this is just a dreamy thought – an interesting “what if”. I know that God was working this whole situation out and that it worked according to His plan, but wouldn’t it have been nice for the earthly king to realize what God was doing and tell all the people, “Hey! Listen to this! God has sent His Son and HE is the REAL king!” I guess this just points to the longing for Christ’s return when all will see and all will know and every knee will bow.
Until then, pray for peace and know that it will only come with the coming of the Prince of Peace.