Thursday, October 30, 2003

Christmas Carols... not!

Last night I arrived at prayer meeting early. There was a group of parishioners as well as my pastor practicing the music for our Christmas Cantata.

They were singing Joy to the World when I arrived. I sat in the back an listened. They sounded great.

After they finished Joy to the World my pastor saw me and came to talk to me with a big grin. He said he had been thinking about me as they were singing. This is because in my Sunday School class on eschatology I had pointed out something that is well known to hymn historians, that is Joy to the World is not a Christmas Carol. It is a celebration of postmillennialism. Just look at the words:
No more let sins and sorrows grow,
nor thorns infest the ground;
He comes to make His blessing flow
far as the curse is found,
far as the curse is found,
far as, far as the curse is found.

He rules the world with truth and grace,
and makes the nations prove
the glories of His righteousness,
and wonders of His love,
and wonders of His love,
and wonders, wonders of His love.

This refers to a future golden age on earth. At the first advent, the earth did not receive her king. Christ came to die, and few hearts prepared Him room.

It was fun pointing this out to the class (in no small part due to the fact that as far as I know I am the only postmillennialist in a congregation of mostly dispensational premills.)

Our conversation drifted onto another topic. In the background, I heard the musicians begin to practice It Came Upon a Midnight Clear:
O ye, beneath life's crushing load,
Whose forms are bending low,
Who toil along the climbing way
With painful steps and slow,
Look now! for glad and golden hours
Come swiftly on the wing;
O rest beside the weary road
And hear the angels sing!

For lo! the days are hastening on,
By prophets seen of old,
When with the ever-circling years
Shall come the time foretold,
When peace shall over all the earth
Its ancient splendors fling,
And the whole world give back the song
Which now the angels sing.

Another postmillennial hymn. Nothing to with Christmas. Christ's first coming did not bring peace to all the earth. However, we are promised that some day there will be a time of peace on earth. And someday the whole world will give back the song.

I held my tongue—perchance I can have some fun later.

I like the way the cantata is shaping up!

I wonder if O come, O come, Emmanuel is on the slate?

Do you know other Christmas carols that are not really about Christmas?

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