Christmas Carol Countdown | No.8 – Once in Royal David’s City

Today’s devotional is by Natalia Crawford.
 
"While some songs on the radio remind us of how little preparation we have made for the festive season, ‘Once in Royal David’s City’ is a great reminder of the true reason as to why we celebrate Christmas - the birth of Jesus Christ.
 
It is undeniable that many of us tend to get caught up amongst the festivities around this time of the year. Christmas trees, decorations, Christmas markets, and even festive drinks at Starbucks and Costa. All of the worldly traditions that have been developed and adapted over the years that we all love (or, in some cases, love to hate...). We don’t want to say that these things aren’t worthwhile. However, we need to cast our minds back to the real reason why we celebrate Christmas. God sent His one and only Son to be born of the Virgin Mary.

Read more: Christmas Carol Countdown | No.8 – Once in Royal David’s City

Christmas Carol Countdown | No.10 – In the Bleak Midwinter

Today’s devotional is by Carole Townley.
 
"This carol was composed by English poet, Christina Rossetti, and published under the title ‘A Christmas Carol’ in January 1872. Gustav Holst then set the words to music in 1906, followed by Harold Darke’s more complex composition in 1911. This latter version was named ‘Best Christmas Carol’ in a 2008 poll of some of the world’s leading choirmasters and choral experts.
 
It was only as I started to write this devotional that I discovered there are actually five verses in the carol, rather than the four that are commonly sung.

Read more: Christmas Carol Countdown | No.10 – In the Bleak Midwinter

Christmas Carol Countdown | No.9 – O Come, O Come, Emmanuel

Today’s devotional is by James Farmer.
 
"I love this Christmas carol, which celebrates Jesus’ first coming and expresses a longing for His return. It displays a thoroughly Christ-centred focus, with an appreciation for the ‘big picture’ of God’s saving plan. Just the kind of thing we need to keep in mind when we think about Jesus, especially at Christmas time.
 
In the ‘Hymns Ancient & Modern (1861)’ English version [translated from the original Latin version], various titles describe Jesus in the different verses. Each one emphasises an aspect of His person and works. Spending a few moments to unpack some of them is a wonderful treat for our souls, so let’s begin…

Read more: Christmas Carol Countdown | No.9 – O Come, O Come, Emmanuel

Christmas Carol Countdown | No.11 – Angels We Have Heard On High

Today’s devotional is by Becky Watson

One thing I find very interesting about this hymn is how, while singing, we jump from being the watcher of the Christmas story to being the angels singing of Christ’s birth. We get to play a part in the Christmas story!

Originally a French carol - “Les Anges dans nos Campagnes” (‘The Angels in the Countryside’) - the carol tells of the shepherds being visited by angels. Most of us know the story; shepherds sat in the fields with their flocks, their duty to guide and protect their sheep. Then, suddenly, an angel appeared to them and told them of Christ’s birth. Luke writes, “And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God and saying, ‘Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace among those with whom he is pleased!’ ” - Luke 2:13-14 (ESV)

Read more: Christmas Carol Countdown | No.11 – Angels We Have Heard On High