Celebrating the love and joy of the Christmas carol

December 20, 2022

The love, joy and peace of Christmas that we experience through our favourite carols was celebrated by the Rev Diana Hall on BBC Radio Scotland’s Thought For The Day this week.

“Whether it’s at a school assembly, a concert or a church service many of us will find ourselves singing carols this week,” said the Rector of St Anne’s in Dunbar, pictured right. “And anyone who knows, While Shepherds Watched, or We Three Kings of Orient Are carries with them part of the Christian story.

“For some, the moment we know it’s Christmas is when we hear a child singing Away in a Manger; for others it’s the soloist in Once in Royal David’s City.  My own favourite line comes from O Little Town of Bethlehem. When I hear the words ‘The hopes and fears of all the years are met in thee tonight’ my spirits rise.

“Whatever it is that helps you to feel festive, may we all have a chance to experience a special moment this week when we know the love, joy and peace of Christmas.”

The full broadcast can be heard here at the 1 hour 21 minute mark.

Then on Thursday 22 December, Thought For The Day came from Bishop David Chillingworth, pictured right, who asked: ‘What’s the point of a Christmas song of a peace when so many people are struggling with the rising cost of living and all the other challenges which face us?’

The former Primus highlighted the time of conflict we live in, but reminded us that the times into which Jesus was born were also far from peaceful. And he found hope in relatively recent history.

“Christmas reminds us that it is possible to overcome seemingly unending confict – that we can suspend and sometimes even resolve our difficulties,” said Bishop David.

“At Christmas 1914, soldiers came out of the trenches of the First World War and played football in No Man’s Land. In 1974 and 1975, I was living in Northern Ireland and there were Christmas truces in the long terrorist campaign. Even a short breathing space was a sign it didn’t always have to be this way.”

He concluded: “We may feel that this period of peace and goodwill almost mocks us – because life will surely return to normal after Christmas. But it is a sign – a reminder – of the deeper meaning of Christmas. The birth of Jesus – the Prince of Peace – is a sign that God wants to bring to us a deeper peace – a Shalom – a new and better way of living.”

The full Thought For The Day from Bishop David can be heard here at the 1:23:30 mark.