>> December 11, 2010
Hark! The herald angels sing. Glory to the new born King!
I love Christmas music. After Dec. 1st, that is…not before Thanksgiving (just to be clear). I sing along in the car while the radio plays a mixed bag of Christmas songs. I love to choose a contemporary Christmas song each year to sing as a special in church because I have a thing for breaking out of the traditional box. But there’s something about the carols. They’re easy to harmonize to, cozy, familiar, and they’re always about the birth of Jesus.
Have you ever noticed in some carols how the first verse flows along, but then maybe the following verses don’t fit the melody or rhythm as well? Or maybe the words are obscure and we smile while singing them and think…"It’s a Christmas carol/hymn, it must mean something good” and we sing away, clueless of what we just said. It’s sort of like singing “watermelon watermelon” in a choir when you forget the words and you need to look like you know them.
I remember years ago while caroling one night in dim lighting. We strained to see the words in our handy-dandy carol booklets and were wading through the 2nd verse of Hark the Herald and a man in the group sang it like this:
Christ by highest heav'n adored
Christ the everlasting Lord!
Late in time behold Him come
Offspring of a Virgin's wome
Then he proceeded to laugh at himself and ask; “Who here thinks womb rhymes with come?”
I can’t hardly sing that verse now and keep a straight face.
Today’s Christianese post comes from that infamous 2nd verse, which also includes this little nugget:
Veiled in flesh the Godhead see
Hail the Incarnate Deity
When I was a kid…okay , maybe not just as a kid, I never stopped and thought about what Incarnate Deity meant. Have you? Let’s see if I can explain it.
Les’ father was 99% Swedish. He claims somewhere along the line some Norwegian crossed the border and infiltrated the family line. Les’ mother is a mix of many European nationalities. So that makes Les half Swede half whatever else (Heinz 57).
Many say Jesus was a good man, a teacher, a prophet, some might think He was a trouble maker. We as Christians believe Jesus is the Messiah promised to the Israelites from the seed of Abraham, the house of David, born of the Virgin Mary.
Mary is Jesus’ mother. She was a Jew with a bit of Moabite and Amorite mingled in there from Ruth and Rahab.
God is Jesus’ Father. He is… well… He’s God…Deity.
That makes Jesus God and Human.
One of the sixteen fundamental truths of our church states: We believe in the Deity of the Lord Jesus Christ. As God’s son Jesus was both human and divine.
Incarnate = in the flesh… Deity = Divine being. So, Hail the Incarnate Deity simply means to boldly acknowledge that Jesus is God in the flesh, fully God and fully man.
Over the next couple weeks, if you hear the song Hark the Herald, pay close attention to the second verse. Try not to get too hung up on the poor rhyme of come/womb. If you do, you’ll miss the awesome part where we see the mystery of God becoming flesh for the ultimate purpose of our salvation.
Hark! The herald angels sing
"Glory to the newborn King!"