This year more than ever, I’m reminded of the lyrics of the Christmas hymn, O Holy Night.
Firstly, the original and weightier French lyrics of the song (Cantique De Noël) capture much more appropriately than our British version the strong urgency with which we are commanded to bow before a thrice-holy God.
“Fall on your knees, Oh hear the angel voices!”
Hear and sing and tell of this as an imperative not as a suggestion.
Of course, the urgent need for us all to fall on the knees of our hearts at the beginning of every single day is the normal kingdom posture.
But what of the knees of our corporate whole? What of the heart of the Body of Christ at large? What of this peculiar juncture of world and church history?
Surely we must prioritise this falling on our knees. Surely we must prioritise sound doctrine and repent where we have erred.
Surely we must repent for our lukewarmness and for our enchantment with this world and the fleshy empires that we have loved to build.
Secondly, as Paul wrote to the Philippians, rejoicing is a safeguard for us, even when we are battered and bruised.
“A thrill of hope the weary world rejoices…”
The picture of a weary world rejoicing is perfect for December 2021, isn’t it?
When mental and emotional and physical and spiritual weariness combine, how can we rejoice?
By the power of the Holy Spirit, the only way we are ever supposed to approach the Holy One of Israel!
Be sure, although often weak and hesitant and faltering, the song of your heart is the exact location on the battleground of your soul against which Satan deploys his fiercest weapons.
Now may the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in Him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit. (Romans 15:13)
(*Now: this precise moment as you read and believe and respond in faith.)
A weary world could be on its knees and so could it be rejoicing. I fear that the world at large is neither lowly or rejoicing but rather suffering under a strong delusion. (2 Thessalonians 2:11).
How much more, therefore, should we all be setting the example of wearily rejoicing in lowliness as those alive to God in Christ Jesus?
“He knows our need, to our weakness no stranger! Behold your King! Before Him lowly bend!”
May we each be reassured of our weakness this Christmas but so may we also be reminded of His familiar acquaintance with every detail of our lives and the perfection of His strength in our midst.
May we behold our King.
Maranatha and God bless,
Nick Franks (Edinburgh, December 16th 2021)