Singing from Advent to Epiphany

Christmas Carols - Part 2


Luke 2:15-18, Angels We Have Heard On High
Luke 1:46-55, There's a Song in the Air
Psalm 23, While Shepherd Watched Their Flocks
Isaiah 9:6-7, Hark! The Herald Angels Sing (vs. 3)


More Songs for Advent through Epiphany

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Luke 2:15-18, Angels We Have Heard On High (12/10/2009)

Today's carol has the scripture, the whole scripture, and almost nothing but the scripture, except that the angels reportedly sang the chorus in Greek, not Latin. Luke 1:46-55, There's a Song in the Air (12/11/2009)

I've read a commentary or two and footnotes that strongly imply that the Song of Mary wasn't Mary's song at all, but Hannah's song (1 Samuel 2: 1-10), repackaged by Luke to make Mary look good. Nah. In the first place, the two songs aren't all that much alike. While Mary makes quite a few scriptural allusions, only one is from the Song of Hannah, and that one could also refer to two other Old Testament passages. Most of the ideas Mary expresses permeate the scripture, so she may not have had any of these exact verses in mind. In the second place, if you read James and Jude, not to mention the Gospels, you will see that Jesus' whole family quoted scripture as naturally as they breathed. I suspect they learned this habit from their mother.

While we're on the topic of footnotes, wouldn't this be a great time to tell Santa that you want a good, modern translation of the Bible, one that has study notes and cross-references? Psalm 23, While Shepherd Watched Their Flocks (12/16/2009)

It is fitting that shepherds were the first people outside the immediate family to learn of Jesus' birth. The image of God as the shepherd of Israel is an ancient one, and the image of God's Messiah as a shepherd is common in Messianic prophecy. When Jesus said, "I am the good shepherd," his listeners knew he was asserting that he himself was the expected Messiah. Isaiah 9:6-7, Hark! The Herald Angels Sing (vs. 3) (12/18/2009)

Could I just take a moment here to whine about politically correct hymnals? You know by now that I like the so-called "gender-neutral" translations of the Bible because in fact they represent the Hebrew and Greek more accurately (at least in this particular point). However, "Born to raise us from the earth" is NOT a gender-neutral version of "Born to raise the sons of earth."

"Sons of earth" doesn't mean "people who live on the earth," as opposed to people who live somewhere else, like the moon. Instead, it means "people who think earthly thoughts and do earthly deeds," as opposed to people who have Godly thoughts and do Godly deeds.

When Jesus was born to raise the sons of earth, he was born to give them birth into the Holy Spirit and thereby transform them from earthly people into Godly people. They will not be born again on another planet. NASA can raise us from the earth to the moon, and even if someday people are born there, that won't guarantee them second birth. This particular change represents a vast change in the theology of today's hymn, not just an updating of the words, and I don't like it.
More Songs for Advent through Epiphany
Advent Psalms
Christmas Carols - Part 1
Christmas Carols - Part 3
Hanukkah Songs
Epiphany Hymns

Copyright 2009, 2011 by Regina L. Hunter. All rights reserved. This page has been prepared for the web site by RPB.

Opinions expressed on this page are solely those of the author, Regina Hunter, and may or may not be shared by the sponsors or the Bible-study participants.  Thanks to the Holy Spirit for any useful ideas presented here, and thanks to all the readers for their support and enthusiasm.  All errors are, of course, the sole responsibility of the author.

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