Around this time of year, we find ourselves singing songs that we haven’t sung since last Christmas. Some of these songs we just rattle off without thinking about the lyrics, at least I do anyway. I grew up singing many of these songs. One of my favorite lines is “Peace on earth and mercy mild, God and sinners reconciled.” Oh the depth!
Some of these carols have titles for Christ embedded within them. It makes me wonder how well we know the scriptures. When you hear a particular title of Christ, can you turn to the place in the scriptures where it is used? There are some easy ones, like Son of Man. Now you can’t include the New Testament references, you have to know the OT reference that Jesus was quoting to be able to understand the claim that he was making. But I’m sure most of us can pick out that reference. How about Prince of Peace? That, too, is an easy one. Handel’s brilliance has emblazoned that passage on all of our hearts.
But what about this one: Desire of All Nations? Can you turn to the sole place in the scriptures where it is used? This next one we should know, and if you don’t, Christmas is the best time to learn it: Dayspring from on high. Modern tranlsations render it as Sunrise. My Thomas Nelson Study Bible has this note:
Dayspring means “dawn” and figuratively refers to the coming of the Messiah. The clause should be translated, “Dawn from heaven will visit us.” That is, the Messiah from heaven will come to help us. God’s messianic deliverance is often expressed as the bursting forth of a great light.
But the note did not provide any texts to support this assertion. But it is certainly supportable. Isaiah 24:23, Psalm 50:1-6, and Habakkuk 3:3-6 come to mind. Am I missing others? Kim Riddlebarger often posts a little quip under the heading “Who Said That?” He posts a theological or political quote from someone notable and asks if his readers recognize the quote. I wonder if we should start doing the same with the scriptures. We should know the scriptures like the back of our hand. When hearing a phrase in a hymn which we know to be from the scriptures, make it your discipline to mark it in your mind where it is located.
Let the redeemed of the LORD say so.
Have fun and stay busy – Luke 19:13
-The Orange Mailman