When is it okay to start listening to Christmas music? This is not a trick question—I am not the worship police, but I am very aware that we Christians can be particularly judgy about music. For years, I, too, did not want to acknowledge Christmas music in Advent, not least because I love Advent and its hymns (“Comfort, Comfort Ye My People!”).
This song tells us a very important story, like most songs do. It comes from the heart of God’s people, from across thousands of years, and still means something holy and hopeful every single time we sing it. With titles and word pictures taken from the prophet Isaiah’s conversations about the Messiah, we see all the ways Jesus has come to reconcile the world to himself. Each verse reminds us of a different promise God has bought into being, has made come true, in the person of Jesus.
All of the snippets of scripture that we hear in worship and sing in hymns “count” in my children’s Christian education.