Christmas Carol Countdown | No.17 – Ding Dong, Merrily on High!

Today’s devotional is by Becky Watson

“Possibly one of the most joyful carols to sing, ‘Ding Dong, Merrily on High!’ mimics the sounds and rhythm of tolling bells. The message of the song is simple – praise the Lord!

‘Gloria, hosannah in excelsis!’ rounds off each verse. Today, we might say, “Highest glory and praise!” The song encourages everyone to praise God, to do all we can to praise Him. In our actions and in our singing, we should praise God.

Read more: Christmas Carol Countdown | No.17 – Ding Dong, Merrily on High!

Christmas Carol Countdown | No.18 – The Holly and the Ivy

Today’s devotional is by Matthew Winning

“I’ve always liked the music of ‘The Holly and the Ivy’. The jolly tune with its bouncy quavers and repeated melodic jumps was always nostalgic of past Christmases for me. Although, to my shame, I never listened to the words of the carol intently… not past the first verse anyway. My excuse was that, since this wasn’t the sort of carol you’d sing together at church, it’s easy to miss some of the details in the lyrics. I thought ‘The Holly and the Ivy’ was mostly about the colourful decorations we put up in our houses on the countdown to Christmas day, the nature and the leaping deer and the music, rather than having any real substance like ‘O Come All Ye Faithful’ or ‘Hark the Herald Angels Sing’. To be truthful, I missed most of the references to sin and redemption, and the imagery of Jesus and His life and death.

Read more: Christmas Carol Countdown | No.18 – The Holly and the Ivy

Christmas Carol Countdown | No.19 – While Shepherds Watched

Christmas Carol Countdown | No.19 – While Shepherds Watched

Today’s devotional is by Alan Dourish

“‘While Shepherds Watched’ is arguably one of the best known Christmas carols, sung – sometimes well but often with questionable melody - in countless carol services, school nativities, television shows etc. The words spring into your mind as soon as the first line is played, as does the image of a few simple shepherds watching over their sheep outside Bethlehem. 

Read more: Christmas Carol Countdown | No.19 – While Shepherds Watched

Christmas Carol Countdown | No. 20 – It Came upon a Midnight Clear

Today’s devotional is by Becky Watson

“Song lyrics are fascinating as you can tell a lot about the writer and their surroundings. ‘It Came upon a Midnight Clear’ has a fascinating story, and one that is, in fact, very appropriate for today.

The carol was written in 1849 by Edmund Hamilton Sears, a minister from Massachusetts. He penned it as he recovered from a bad illness, during which he reportedly had a breakdown. Like today, there was a lot of political and economic unrest at the time. The US was reeling in the aftermath of the Mexican War; there were rumblings of revolutions across Europe; and the issue of slavery was beginning to be a burning topic across the states. 

Read more: Christmas Carol Countdown | No. 20 – It Came upon a Midnight Clear