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With Christmas quickly approaching, there are many Christmas songs on my mind. But one in particular reminds me to not just sing, but to really know and think about the words.

“Christmas Bells” or “I Heard the Bells on Christmas Day” by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow is a wonderful poem and Christmas carol. In it there is a line that speaks of the bells playing “old, familiar carols.” There is nothing wrong with these, but let us be wary lest they become so old and familiar that they lose their meaning and power to us. While we sing songs of Jesus’ first coming, let us remember His reason and His glory!

How do you start thinking freshly about these songs? Try reading the lyrics without music. Go look up why the songs were written, and what the writer was going through at the time. A good place to start is with the song and poet I’ve already mentioned. You’ll find new meaning after that bit of reading.

The Advent has begun. As we hear the bells this year, may we enjoy them fresh and new.