There is arguably no other American annual holiday that is as dominated by music as Christmas. From Thanksgiving to December 25, secular along with sacred music can be heard from seemingly every source imaginable.
From amateur presentations at elementary, middle and high schools, to professional concerts featuring symphonic orchestras, along with background music in stores of all shapes, sizes and products, the sounds of the season are everywhere.
And let us not overlook the various programs and cantatas that many churches annually conduct which serves to brighten up the holiday season. My church, Headwaters Church in Fort Wayne, IN, will be presenting The Carols of Christmas this upcoming Sunday, December 15 at the Purdue Fort Wayne Campus. I am so looking forward to singing in the choir and being a part of this festive Christmas musical.
The Scriptures are not silent when it comes to worship regarding the person and work of Jesus Christ. We have already examined the various praises by Zechariah, Mary, the angels, Simeon and Anna. However, there are also two hymns written by the Apostle Paul which contain some of the most significant theology regarding Jesus Christ the Lord.
These two hymns are found in Philippians 2:1-11 and Colossians 1:15-23. While both focus their attention on Jesus Christ, their themes are noticeably different. Philippians stresses the humiliation of the Lord Jesus while Colossians emphasizes the eternality and exaltation of the Christ. Both contribute volumes of truth regarding the reason for the incarnation of the Son of God, the second person of the Trinity.
Philippians 2:1-11 says, “So if there is any encouragement in Christ, any comfort from love, any participation in the Spirit, any affection and sympathy, 2 complete my joy by being of the same mind, having the same love, being in full accord and of one mind. 3 Do nothing from selfish ambition or conceit, but in humility count others more significant than yourselves. 4 Let each of you look not only to his own interests, but also to the interests of others. 5 Have this mind among yourselves, which is yours in Christ Jesus, 6 who, though he was in the form of God, did not count equality with God a thing to be grasped, 7 but emptied himself, by taking the form of a servant, being born in the likeness of men. 8 And being found in human form, he humbled himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross. 9 Therefore God has highly exalted him and bestowed on him the name that is above every name, 10 so that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, 11 and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.”
Colossians 1:15-20 says, “15 He is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn of all creation. 16 For by him all things were created, in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or rulers or authorities—all things were created through him and for him. 17 And he is before all things, and in him all things hold together. 18 And he is the head of the body, the church. He is the beginning, the firstborn from the dead, that in everything he might be preeminent. 19 For in him all the fullness of God was pleased to dwell, 20 and through him to reconcile to himself all things, whether on earth or in heaven, making peace by the blood of his cross. 21 And you, who once were alienated and hostile in mind, doing evil deeds, 22 he has now reconciled in his body of flesh by his death, in order to present you holy and blameless and above reproach before him, 23 if indeed you continue in the faith, stable and steadfast, not shifting from the hope of the gospel that you heard, which has been proclaimed in all creation under heaven, and of which I, Paul, became a minister.”
For the next several days, we will take the opportunity to examine both passages in detail. In so doing, my prayer is that we will all take away some important truths about Jesus that we never knew or understood as clearly. Merry Christmas.
May the Lord’s truth and grace be found here.
Soli deo Gloria!