The Optimism of Christmas Hymns

Our Christmas hymns demonstrate an optimism that is often better than what is found in current Christian “theologizing” about the future.

no left behind

Have you noticed the optimistic nature of Christmas hymns? A few examples will suffice [mainly taken from R. J. Rushdoony’s piece found here].

The very famous Isaac Watts “Joy to the World!” which says:

No more let sins and sorrows grow,
Nor thorns infest the ground;
He comes to make His blessings flow,
Far as the curse is found.

He rules the world with truth and grace,
And makes the nations prove,
The glories of His righteousness,
And wonders of His love.

R.J. Rushdoony commented on this hymn when he wrote:

The Christian religion is a faith of ultimate victory, where the very gates of hell cannot prevail against Christ and His chosen people (Matt. 16:18).”

[See also, “The Future of Christmas.”]

Another great hymn filled with Gospel hope is “I Heard the Bells on Christmas Day,” which says:

Then pealed the bells more loud and deep,
God is not dead, nor doth He sleep.
The wrong shall fail, the right prevail,
With Peace On Earth, Good Will To Man.

Or the language of Isaiah 11 is made clear in that famous hymn: “It Came Upon a Midnight Clear”, where the final verse boldly rejoices:

For lo, the days are hast’ning on,
By prophet bards foretold,
When with the ever circling years
Comes round the age of Gold,
When peace shall over all the earth
Its ancient splendor fling,
And the whole world give back the song
Which now the angels sing.

Hark! the Harold Angels Sing”, also joins in with the testimony of carols to the Kingship of Christ:

Joyful, all ye nations rise,
Join the triumph of the skies,
With angelic host proclaim,
Christ is born in Bethlehem.

The tidings of great joy are not good feelings during the Christmas Season; the tidings of great joy are comfort and joy to the world. This is what animated these hymn writers as they echoed the biblical message. And this is what exhorts us to sing loudly and confidently the words of the incarnation. “Give ye heed to what we say: Jesus Christ is born today…calls you one and calls you all to gain His everlasting hall.”


Uri Brito writes for Kuyperian Commentary.