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Theology in Song: The Incarnation
Many of our Christmas hymns are loaded with rich, devotional, and theological content. The four songs
featured in the questions below are no exception. Look up the lyrics to each and read them carefully for what
they teach about the nature of Jesus, the God-man. Use the questions below as a guide for your discussion.
Consider choosing one or more of these songs and singing them together with your group to conclude your
1. Hark, the Herald Angels Sing: ‘Hark, the Herald Angels Sing’ is unique for its celebratory use of deep
theological language. Consider the following lines: “Veiled in flesh the Godhead see, / Hail the incarnate Deity
/ Pleased as man with men to dwell / Jesus, our Emmanuel.” Work through each of these phrases. What does
it mean for Jesus to be ‘veiled in flesh’ (Matt. 17:1-2). What does the word ‘incarnate’ mean (John 1:14)?
What about ‘Emmanuel’ (Isa. 7:14; Matt. 1:23)?
2. What Child is This?: How does the song ‘What Child Is This?’ connect Jesus’ incarnation with His death (John
1:29)? Consider especially the lines: “Nail, spear shall pierce Him through / The cross he borne for me, for you
/ Hail, hail the Word made flesh / The Babe, the Son of Mary.” Paul, in his own hymn (Phil. 2:6-11), magnifies
the Lord for his death and his unparalleled humility. What was God’s reaction to Jesus’ submission to death
(Phil. 2:9)? What should our reaction be (Phil. 2:10-11)?
3. Come, Thou Long Expected Jesus: ‘Come, Thou Long Expected Jesus’ takes on the challenging doctrine of
the knosis, or, the “emptying” (Phil. 6-11) of God the Son as He takes on flesh and becomes Jesus of
Nazareth. What did He empty Himself of? How do the following lines help us answer that question: “He
whose glories knew no end” (cf. John 17:5) and “Leaving riches without number / Born within a cattle stall” (2
4. O Holy Night: One particular line from ‘O Holy Night’ unfolds the wonders of Jesus’ assimilation of our human
nature, in all of its frailties. “He knows our need, / To our weakness no stranger!” Why is it necessary for us to
have a Savior fully acquainted with our needs and our weakness (Heb. 4:14-16)?