A Different Setting

by The Salvation Army
Categories: Devotional

Music is a wonderful gift from God. While we enjoy it all year long, I think that it is especially meaningful in December. This is probably because of the number of Christmas carols that we both hear and sing.

While no one on earth can now be certain, I like to imagine Luke’s recounting of the first Christmas as describing a huge choir singing a very significant Christmas carol.

Luke 2:13-14 – Suddenly a great company of the heavenly host appeared with the angel, praising God and saying, “Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace to men on whom his favor rests.” (NIV)

We do know that George Frideric Handel (1685-1759) included such a chorus in his famous oratorio, “Messiah”. Like you, perhaps, I have enjoyed singing it, and I have been thrilled listening to others joining with the heavenly host in saying, “Glory to God!”

A less well-known carol was written in the nineteenth century by Edward Caswell with music by Sir John Goss. There were seven verses but the first two verses and the chorus appear below.

While I had sung the carol previously in Canada where snow is common, some years ago, I sang it in Madras (now Chennai) in India. There, it was certainly a different setting, for the temperature was just over 100 degrees Fahrenheit (almost 40 degrees Celsius)

See amid the winter’s snow,

Born for us on earth below,

See, the tender Lamb appears,

Promised from eternal years.


Hail, thou ever blessed morn!

Hail redemption’s happy dawn!

Sing through all Jerusalem,

Christ is born in Bethlehem.

Lo, within a manger lies

He Who built the starry skies;

He Who, throned in height sublime,

Sits amid the cherubim.

This December, let’s go out of our way to enjoy the beautiful music of Christmas. Attend musical concerts and choral productions. Listen to the lyrics, absorb their meaning, and praise our God and King! More importantly, let us strive to tell the true meaning of Christmas wherever we are.

Prayer: Dear Father, we thank You for wonderful gift of Your Son celebrated on Christmas Day. May we ever be mindful of Your great love that You demonstrated by giving Your Son for our salvation. In His name, we pray. Amen.

Vincent Walter
Toronto, Ontario, Canada

 – Copyright 2018-2021 by Vince Walter and reprinted with his permission. This devotional first appeared on the PresbyCan Daily Devotional website, www.presbycan.ca