Isn’t it amazing how excited the witnesses of Christmas became, as they saw Him?
Surrounding Christ’s birth are groups of believers who overflow with geysers of praise.
Sometimes we need to get close to them and see what they saw, then we will also feel the wonder, and overflow with praise.. In each of these five hymns of praise we find the truths about God which are the Theology of Christmas.
There is the hymn of Elisabeth, of Zacharias, of Mary, of the angels, and finally of Simeon & Anna. So the Christ of Christmas is introduced to us by a series of five Spirit prompted hymns, with Elisabeth’s in Luke 1:42 being the first. If you have never noted these in your Bibles, let me point them out as:
The Hymns or
Psalms of Christmas
1. First we see the scene when Elisabeth, the 6-months-along expectant mother of John the Baptist, breaks into praise at her cousin Mary’s arrival. These verses have been called since ancient times by a name derived from the first word of the Latin Vulgate, which is the: “Exclamavit” (Luke 1:42-45).
Luke 1:42-45 (NKJV) Then she spoke out with a loud voice and said, “Blessed are you among women, and blessed is the fruit of your womb! 43 But why is this granted to me, that the mother of my Lord should come to me? 44 For indeed, as soon as the voice of your greeting sounded in my ears, the babe leaped in my womb for joy. 45 Blessed is she who believed, for there will be a fulfillment of those things which were told her from the Lord.”
2. Then we catch the wonders of the words of Mary, who follows Elisabeth’s outpouring of praise with her marvelous “Magnificat” (Luke 1:46-55). In these ten verses Mary points to the Lord 19x, mentions herself 4x, and quotes over twenty different Scripture portions!
Luke 1:46-55 (NKJV) And Mary said:
“ My soul magnifies the Lord,
47 And my spirit has rejoiced in God my Savior.
48 For He has regarded the lowly state of His maidservant;
For behold, henceforth all generations will call me blessed.
49 For He who is mighty has done great things for me,
And holy is His name.
50 And His mercy is on those who fear Him
From generation to generation.
51 He has shown strength with His arm;
He has scattered the proud in the imagination of their hearts.
52 He has put down the mighty from their thrones,
And exalted the lowly.
53 He has filled the hungry with good things,
And the rich He has sent away empty.
54 He has helped His servant Israel,
In remembrance of His mercy,
55 As He spoke to our fathers,
To Abraham and to his seed forever.”
3. Just about three months later, at John the Baptist’s naming ceremony and circumcision, his dad Zacharias, breaks forth into his famous “Benedictus” (Luke 1:68-79).
Luke 1:68-79 (NKJV) “ Blessed is the Lord God of Israel,
For He has visited and redeemed His people,
69 And has raised up a horn of salvation for us
In the house of His servant David,
70 As He spoke by the mouth of His holy prophets,
Who have been since the world began,
71 That we should be saved from our enemies
And from the hand of all who hate us,
72 To perform the mercy promised to our fathers
And to remember His holy covenant,
73 The oath which He swore to our father Abraham:
74 To grant us that we,
Being delivered from the hand of our enemies,
Might serve Him without fear,
75 In holiness and righteousness before Him all the days of our life.
76 “ And you, child, will be called the prophet of the Highest;
For you will go before the face of the Lord to prepare His ways,
77 To give knowledge of salvation to His people
By the remission of their sins,
78 Through the tender mercy of our God,
With which the Dayspring from on high has visited us;
79 To give light to those who sit in darkness and the shadow of death,
To guide our feet into the way of peace.”
4. Then, about six months later: Christ is born; and to welcome His arrival the angels break into the night sky over the shepherd’s fields of Bethlehem with their “Gloria” (Luke 2:14).
5. And finally, forty days after Christ’s birth, Joseph and Mary are in Jerusalem on their way to offer the offering, at the Temple, God had prescribed in His Word. There they meet an elderly man who amazes them. Simeon lifts his eyes to God as he stood on the Temple steps, and holding baby Jesus in his arms, he praises God in his hymn that has been title the: “Nunc Dimittis” (Luke 2:29-32).
Each of these hymns: before Christ’s birth, at His Birth, and after His Birth are overflowing with thanks to God. These praise offerings remind us that when we at last come into His presence—as the book of Revelation records: we will forever be singing the praise hymns that He alone is worthy!