We attended a local Christmas Eve service last night – thankfully, no bats in the sanctuary – and sang “Hark the Herald Angels Sing”. Not the first time we’ve sung it, and probably won’t be the last. You know the song:
Hark! the herald angels sing
Glory to the newborn king…
Now you have the Charlie Brown Christmas version in your head, right? Admit it.
The team last night, either on purpose or by mistake, changed the words. The third verse says:
Hail the Heav’n-born Prince of Peace!
Hail the Son of Righteousness!
Light and life to all He brings
Ris’n with healing in His wings
Mild He lays His glory by
Born that man no more may die
Born to raise the sons of earth
Born to give them second birth
Hark! the herald angels sing:
“Glory to the newborn King!”
But we sang “mild he lays his glory by” for the second verse, too. It bothered me. Not just because the words were wrong, though for the life of me I couldn’t remember the right ones. Just an old Episcopalian here, folks, singing hymns and carols for most of her natural-born life. Anyway, then it hit me in the gut.
Mild he lays his glory by…
We don’t lay our glory by in any mild fashion. No. When we run the 100-yard dash in 6 flat, everyone knows. If we sing for the queen, Instagram lights up. If we get all As, it’s the biggest news since the moon landing. We celebrate our successes, and well. And that’s not all bad.
That wasn’t Jesus’ path. He let his deity rest in human flesh. It was enough. He didn’t strive. He didn’t self-promote. No paparazzi lined up for shots of the manger or the bewildered parents. He let his life unfold into being the King of kings and Lord of lords. It was enough to be humble and join us in our humanity.
Today, I am grateful. All 4 of us are home and soon the house will be filled with family and friends. It’s weird to be home on a Wednesday to celebrate the birth of Jesus. Not going to lie. But maybe Jesus was born in the middle of the week, too, awkward for everyone in the short-term. Yet what an eternal blessing to us all.
For to us a child is born, to us a son is given, and the government will be on his shoulders. And he will be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace. – Isaiah 9:6