My favorite Christmas hymn is “In the Bleak Midwinter” (Evangelical Lutheran Worship 294). The words are pure poetry; really, they were written by a famous 19th-century poet named Christina Rossetti. What I like about it is the winter imagery: “In the bleak midwinter, frosty wind made moan, earth stood hard as iron, water like a stone.” Right now in the Midwest those images are very real!
I’m also fond of “Once in Royal David’s City.” Years ago, I belonged to a congregation that had a Christmas tradition in which a young boy would sing the opening lines of that hymn a capella in the candle-lit church just before the beginning of the midnight service. In that quiet, soft light, his lone voice gave me goosebumps. It was powerful.
Make some time today to reflect on the Christmas hymns that are dear to you. And take a moment to thank God for the gift of music and how it shapes our faith. And, of course, for the gift of Jesus.