The Subject Matters

Monday, November 26, 2012

Good Housekeeping's Thanksgiving issue contained an interesting little blurb on the healing power of hymns. It got me thinking about music, and how I agree - the subject matters. 

The School of Nursing at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill found that, "those who expressed their faith through song said they felt strengthened, more at peace, and better able to endure . . . "

Those results did not surprise me. Hymns have always been a great source of comfort to me, especially this time of year. O Holy Night, Away in a Manger, Little Drummer Boy - I can sing these songs from memory, any time. Handel's Messiah, O Little Town of Bethlehem . . . the refrains, swells, and familiar harmonies are part of what makes Christmas magical. They give me that warm and cozy feeling, like all is right with the world and everything is going to be okay.

Why is that? It's not just because they are familiar. Happy Birthday is familiar, but it doesn't still my heart. No, those sacred songs are special because they remind me of Jesus. It's the subject - that's what matters. Those hymns, those great works of art, calm me, steady me, and pull me back from the noise of holiday rushing and spending. The article reminded me of the actual (scientific!) power of hymns, and how I need to purposefully, intentionally, make holy music a part of our holiday: find it on the radio, listen to it at home, soak it up at church, and hum while washing the dishes.

Don't get me wrong; I enjoy all Christmas music. You will catch me at a stop light bee-bopping to Mariah Carey's All I Want for Christmas is You. But you will also catch me singing Hark! The Herald Angels Sing, thinking about the lyrics, and hopefully, reaping the benefits of those good, old hymns.

Do you think the subject matters? How do hymns make you feel?

Linking with:

Meaningful Christmas Advent





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14 Comments »

14 Responses to “The Subject Matters”

  1. You know, even when I didn't even remember that I remembered the words to a hymn the Lord would bring my mind to a particular hymn that just feeds my sould in time of need. There is just something about hymns....

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    1. You are so right, Marlece. The words to hymns have a way of lingering in our minds.

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  2. I completely agree that the content matters. A few years back, I was challenged by a friend to purposefully post Scripture around my home. While I have memorized a lot of Bible verses in my lifetime, I came to realize that having them hidden in my heart wasn't quite enough. Having God's Word posted for me to see throughout my home makes an incredible difference in every aspect of my life. I feel the same way about music. While I do listen to secular music sometimes, it never moves me like lyrics that point to God's grace and keep me focused on worshiping Him.

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    1. Hi Kelly - I also have verses posted in different parts of my home. It never fails to amaze me how those words continue to inspire.

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  3. You are so right, and not just about Christmas songs, but we would, I think, be well advised to examine all of our 'sacred' songs for what exactly they are singing about. As you said, they should all draw us to Jesus.

    Now, having said that, don't be surprised if you hear me belting out 'Santa Baby'...

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    1. Exactly! There are many fun songs out there, and they are great. But sometimes it is good to really listen to the lyrics and think about how they are drawing us to Jesus.

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  4. When it comes to Christmas music, I see a definite connection between meaning and musical appeal. It's weird... theoretically I'm not one to listen to lyrics, but I as a rule like sacred Christmas music and dislike a-spiritual Christmas music. So I guess you have a good point!

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    1. I don't spend a lot of time thinking about lyrics, either. But when I do, I realize why some of the songs are so meaningful to me.

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  5. "No, those sacred songs are special because they remind me of Jesus."
    Yes, it's the subject that matters. Excellent.

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    1. Thanks, Lisa. So glad you stopped by!

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  6. I totally agree that it is the subject that matters. I do love the hymns - I love almost all music - but the hymns have such meaningful words. Yes the words might be couched in archaic language but the meaning can still speak to you.

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    1. I agree, Jerralea. Sometimes the old language is just so beautiful. It is good to think on it.

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  7. i was just thinking today, as i hummed a hymn to myself, how much comfort it brought... it ministered to me the same way a piece of scripture does, and i wonder if this is because God is so very present in both?

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    1. Hi Emily - I think you are right. I think God can be present in so many words, when they are directed at Him.

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