I went carol singing on Wednesday night with some people from church. I wore two pairs of socks and two pairs of gloves to keep me toasty, and actually really enjoyed myself! I was toasty, which kept me happy, but it was the first time this year I’ve sung Christmas carols and it made me feel really Christmassy!
We sang the classics – O Little Town of Bethlehem, Silent Night, Ding Dong Merrily on High – and some alternative words to 12 days of Christmas which resulted in a hilarious excellent harmony by the boys! I think this year we were more tuneful than previous years with great harmonies all over the shop.
We have carol services tomorrow at church and we’re not singing Angels from the Realms of Glory, but in Evangelicals Now this month, Richard Simpkin informed us of a verse from that carol that we rarely, if ever, sing anymore:
Sinners, wrung with true repentance,
Doomed for guilt with endless pains,
Justice now revokes the sentence,
Mercy calls you — break your chains.
Amazing words! I wonder why we don’t sing them anymore. Perhaps because the first two lines are a bit err non-carol servicey. What I mean is that those who go to church just at Christmas expect to sing a few well-known carols and head home feeling they’ve done their good deed for the year. If we sang this verse, perhaps they wouldn’t feel so comfortable, but it would perhaps hit it home.
O Little Town is one of my favourite carols, and I think the words are pretty hard hitting if we read the words carefully because they can be, as Simpkin says, ‘dangerously familiar to us.’ Let’s think about the words we sing this Christmas, and encourage others to do so too so they see the gospel in the words of the song!