Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Which Christmas Carols are Scriptural?

I'm a big fan of Christmas music. This year I started listening to it in September. However, there are a couple of songs that make me cringe. There's nothing wrong with the music, but sometimes the story is just way off. Let's take a few examples. (To verify the information yourself, first read the two accounts of Christmas given in the Bible in Matthew and Luke).

We three kings of orient are - The opening line is "We three kings of orient are". This refers to the wise men in Matthew 2. However, the story says nothing about them being kings, nor does it even say there are three of them. We know they brought three types of gifts (gold, frankincense, and myrrh), but there's no reason to believe there were only three. Nevertheless, I must say once you get beyond the first verse, the song is quite good.

Away in a manger
- My main problem comes with the first part of the second verse, "The cattle are lowing / The poor Baby wakes / But little Lord Jesus / No crying he makes." First, there is no reference of cattle in the Christmas story, only that Jesus was placed a feeding trough because there was no room in the inn or room. Second, nothing indicates that Jesus did not cry. In fact, any good parent knows that a newborn that is not crying is a newborn that is not breathing!

The First Noel - First, we have no cause to believe that the shepherds were in their fields on a "cold winter's night." In fact, to do so would be quite foolish. Just because Christmas is in December doesn't mean Jesus was born in December. Second, the second verse refers to the shepherd seeing the star in the East, yet that is mixing two distinct stories. The shepherds were told by an angel, and the wise men saw the star. Third, we see another reference to three kings. Fourth, the song says the star "took its rest" over Bethlehem. If that is the case then the wise men were quite foolish for going to Jerusalem first, as the story in Matthew 2 indicates.

Oh, well. Not all carols are that bad. Here are some of the quite accurate ones:

Hark! the Herald Angels Sing
God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen - except for the reference to being "born on Christmas Day."
Come all Ye Faithful

1 comment:

  1. Christmas Carol Connoisseur7:26 PM

    Yeah. Where did these song writers receive their false information? That would be interesting to know.


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