the gospel carol

        A few days ago, I spent a little time taking bits and pieces of traditional Christmas carols and fitting them together into a beautiful depiction of the full gospel. Some less common carols, like "Remember Adam's Fall" or "Of the Father's Love Begotten," but also the most well-known songs, such as "Away in a Manger" and "Silent Night," in addition to my favorites, "O Holy Night," "O Come O Come Emmanuel," and "I Heard the Bells." There are no added words of my own.

I wanted to take on this little project because I noticed how many phrases of carols are absolutely cram-packed with meaning, but we miss it because we're so used to it. I mean, "The dawn of redeeming grace." Wow. Think about that. Christmas was the beginning, the dawn, the sunrise of grace, of redemption. All the beauty of that concept is wrapped up in one little phrase, in the second or third verse of one of the most common carols, Silent Night. 

Please read slowly, read thoughtfully, read with an eye to not just understand, not just believe, but to come away changed by the truth of the gospel. 

I wonder as I wander out under the sky,
How Jesus the Savior did come for to die.
For poor ornery people like you and like I...
Remember Adam's fall,
How we were condemned all
To hell perpetual,
There for to dwell.
The race of Adam’s children
Doomed by law to endless woe.

And in despair I bowed my head:
"There is no peace on earth," I said,
"For hate is strong and mocks the song
Of peace on earth, good will to men."
Lo! the days are hastening on,
By prophets seen of old,
When with the ever-circling years
Shall come the time foretold,
Shall come to thee, O Israel.
Chains he shall break, for the slave is our brother.
And in his name all oppression shall cease.

Righteous judge of souls departed,
Righteous King of them that live,
From our fears and sins release us
Let us find our rest in Thee
Cast out our sin and enter in
Be born to us today

Long lay the world in sin and error pining.
‘Till He appeared and the soul felt its worth.
A thrill of hope the weary world rejoices,
For yonder breaks a new and glorious morn.
Ye who sang creation's story,
Now proclaim Messiah's birth
Above its sad and lowly plains
They bend on hovering wing,
Hark! The herald angels sing
"Glory to the newborn King!"
Of the Father’s love begotten,
Ere the worlds began to be.

"God is not dead, nor doth he sleep;
The wrong shall fail, the right prevail,
With peace on earth, good will to men."
Rise to adore the mystery of love
Which hosts of angels chanted from above
This day is born a Saviour
Of a pure Virgin bright,
To free all those who trust in Him
From Satan's power and might.
And the Babe, the world's Redeemer
In her loving arms received.
In fields where they lay keeping their sheep
On a cold winter's night that was so deep.
Shepherds quake at the sight
The dawn of redeeming grace
To Bethlehem did they go,
To see whether it were so,
Whether Christ were borne or no
To set man free.
Word of the Father, now in flesh appearing;
O come, let us adore Him,
Come, adore on bended knee,
Christ the Lord, the newborn King.
The hopes and fears of all the years
Are met in thee tonight
Let us, like these good shepherds, them employ
Our grateful voices to proclaim the joy
O'er the world a star is sweetly gleaming,
Now come the wisemen from out of the Orient land.
To seek for a King was their intent
And to follow the star wherever it went.
“Guide us to thy Perfect Light.”
Then entered in those Wise men three
Full reverently upon their knee.
This day hath God fulfilled His promised word;
This day is born a Saviour, Christ the Lord.
Pleased as man with man to dwell
Jesus, our Emmanuel
He comes to make His blessings flow
Far as the curse is found
And with his blood mankind has bought.
For He is our childhood's pattern;
Day by day, like us, He grew;
He was little, weak, and helpless,
Tears and smiles, like us He knew;
In all our trials born to be our friends.
He knows our need, our weakness is no stranger,
O tidings of comfort and joy!
Trace we the Babe, who hath retrieved our loss
From His poor manger to His bitter cross

Nails, spear shall pierce him through,
The Cross be borne for me, for you
To save us all from Satan's power
When we were gone astray
Born that man no more may die
Born to raise the sons of earth
Born to give them second birth
God and sinners reconciled
Good Christian, fear: for sinners here
The silent Word is pleading.

Remember God's goodness,
How His only Son He sent
Our sins for to redress,
Be not afraid.
Now ye need not fear the grave:
Peace! Peace!
Jesus Christ was born to save.

When I was a seeker
I sought both night and day,
I asked the Lord to help me,
And he showed me the way.
Thou my lazy heart hast stirred,
Thou, the Father’s eternal Word.
And if I am a Christian,
I am the least of all.
In this world of sin,
Where meek souls will receive him still,
The dear Christ enters in.
He came to bright the weary ones
True peace and perfect rest;
He came to bring a glorious gift,
Good will to men; - and why?
Because He loved us, Jesus came
For us to live and die
Go tell it on the mountain!
When sin departs before His grace,
Then life and health come in its place.
Now to the Lord sing praises,
All you within this place,
And with true love and brotherhood
Each other now embrace;
Give thanks to God always,
Upon this blessed day,
Let all men sing and say:
'Holy, holy!'
Were ten thousand worlds my manor,
All were nothing to His Word:
Saved by His love, incessant we shall sing
Of angels and of angel-men the King 
He hath ope'd the heav'nly door
And man is blessed evermore
And our eyes at last shall see Him,
Through His own redeeming love;
And He leads His children on,
To the place where He is gone.
O come, Thou Key of David, come,
And open wide our heavenly home;
Make safe the way that leads on high,
And close the path to misery.
By Thine all sufficient merit
Raise us to Thy glorious throne

And take us to heaven
To live with Thee there
Joy to the world, the Lord is come!


  1. Wow. Just...speechless.
    I've been lately thinking the same thing, truly listening to the deep, powerful, incredible words of old carols and Christmas hymns. So beautiful. The gospel. Fullness of God in helpless babe. Jesus, our Emmanuel.

  2. WOW! What an amazing way to rethink through the carols we sing all during this season. So powerful! Praise the Lord for his great mercy and love toward us!

  3. One of my favorite things about Christmas, is that our carols proclaim some of the most important parts of our theology. For example, we don't sing about the predestination of the elect or whether the book of Enoch is inspired, but we sing that Jesus was born as the Son of God (not that He became God by His life on Earth), and we sing of the humility of His birth - pillars to our faith!


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