The old French carol confirms our pattern of celebrating the birth of Jesus by singing.
Sing we now of Christmas, Noel sing we here!
Hear our grateful praises to the Babe so dear.
Sing we Noel, the King is born, Noel!
Sing we now of Christmas, sing we now Noel!
Why do we sing at Christmas? The people of God have been singing about the birth of Jesus since Mary was pregnant. The Gospel of Luke tells us the story of Mary’s song. Take time to read what could be called the first Christmas carol, Luke 1:46-55.
After receiving the news that she was pregnant, Mary stayed with her country relatives for three months. It raised a few eyebrows for this young single girl to travel 70 miles alone. Why was she so determined to spend this time with her old aunt and uncle, Elizabeth and Zacharias?
It started at home in Nazareth. An angel, Gabriel, appeared to Mary and declared that she was especially favored by God. She would be the mother of the Messiah who would reign on the throne of David forever. Mary asked the obvious question. How? Mary was betrothed to Joseph, but not yet married. She was a virgin.
Gabriel gave the obvious answer: God will do it. The birth of this child will be God’s work, a miracle birth! He will be the Son of God. For confirmation, the angel let Mary in on a surprising secret—her old aunt Elizabeth was also pregnant.
So, too young Mary hurries to see too old Elizabeth. This journey provokes all kinds of questions: Did she travel alone? Did she tell her parents about the pregnancy? Did she go because she doubted the angel or because everyone in Nazareth doubted her? One thing we know, when she arrives she finds confirmation. Unborn John leaps in old Elizabeth’s womb, and Elizabeth calls Mary, “The mother of my Lord!”
In response to this confirmation, pregnant Mary sings. Her submission becomes celebration and we gain insight in to why the Lord chose her.
Mary’s song teaches us that Christmas is a season of praise. She praises the Lord who is our Mighty, Holy, Faithful Savior. From the depths of our souls, we join Mary’s song at Christmas, My soul exalts the Lord, and my spirit rejoices in God my Savior! Christmas ‘tis the season of praise.