Luke 2:13-14 (ESV)
13 And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God and saying,
14 “Glory to God in the highest,
and on earth peace among those with whom he is pleased!”
Hark the herald angels sing
“Glory to the newborn King!
Peace on earth and mercy mild
God and sinners reconciled”
Joyful, all ye nations rise
Join the triumph of the skies
With the angelic host proclaim:
“Christ is born in Bethlehem”
Hark! The herald angels sing
“Glory to the newborn King!”
Christ by highest heav’n adored
Christ the everlasting Lord!
Late in time behold Him come
Offspring of a Virgin’s womb
Veiled in flesh the Godhead see
Hail the incarnate Deity
Pleased as man with man to dwell
Jesus, our Emmanuel
“Hark The Herald Angels Sing”. As I look at the song I can think of few other Christmas hymns that are so richly endowed with the fundamental theology of our faith, and I first of all encourage you to go back and read the lyrics to this song closely, if for no other reason than to marvel at the robust truth of its words.
The third verse of this song has always struck me as particularly moving, especially the lines, “Born that man no more may die / Born to raise the sons of earth / Born to give the second birth.”
There is such profound purpose in the birth of Jesus. Through the common, everyday action of a new life entering the world, the vision and mission of God’s redemption plan invaded the land of darkness and decay.
Jesus knew there was deep, spiritual purpose in birth. That’s why he used it as one of his primary metaphors to describe salvation. In his conversation with Nicodemus in John 3, Jesus debated with him on the meaning of a new birth by the Spirit. Jesus stated in v. 3:6-7, “Humans can reproduce only human life, but the Holy Spirit gives birth to spiritual life. So don’t be surprised when I say, ‘You must be born again.”
And this is the purpose of Jesus life – to “give them second birth” as “Hark The Herald Angels Sing” describes.
In Jesus’ sinless birth, conceived of the Holy Spirit, he created the blueprint for the spiritual rebirth of all people. Just in the same way that Jesus was born into this world free of the shackles of sin, we too are invited to be reborn fresh, clean, and unchained.
Although we typically think about Easter as the culmination of Jesus’ gift of forgiveness, it is at Christmas where Jesus, even as newborn baby, began undoing the enslavement of darkness in our world, by creating a new model of life for us: to be born free.
Dear Lord, as we get closer to Christmas Day, we thank You for Your gift, and the salvation that You have brought to our lives. There is no hope apart from You that has brought hope for us to live a new life that begins now and extends into eternity. In the Name of Jesus, Amen.