Listening to 24-hours of Christmas music on the radio this month has probably made you realize one thing: the classic Christmas hymns have much more depth than “All I Want for Christmas Is You” (no offense, Mariah).

Did you realize, however, that most, if not all, of these classic carols were not written simply to be sung during the Christmas season. They were written so that congregations would know true doctrine and feel the joy that comes with it.

One of my favorite “Christmas” hymns is not a radio hit. The song is ”Lo How a Rose E’er Blooming.” This hymn, like many others, was designed to instruct on the doctrinal theme of the “righteous Branch” spoken of by the Prophets (see Isaiah 4:2; 11:1; Jeremiah 23:1-7; 33:14-16). God promised David that his offspring would rule the world forever (2 Sam. 7). The Prophets pick up on this theme and teach that from David’s family tree would come a Branch that would rule the world in righteousness and justice. That Branch, of course, is Jesus of Nazareth who would save his people from their sins and reign over them forever.

The original English translation of this hymn sticks closest to the writing of the prophets. Read it. Learn from it. Sing it. Enjoy it. Enjoy Jesus in it. How? Let this song point you to the truth of the gospel: just as the prophets foretold, a righteous Branch has sprouted, a bright flower, from a rotten tree of sinners. If you trust him, rest assured that he will save you from death and lighten every load!

Lo, how a Rose e’er blooming from tender stem hath sprung!
Of Jesse’s lineage coming, as men of old have sung.
It came, a floweret bright, amid the cold of winter,
When half spent was the night.

Isaiah ’twas foretold it, the Rose I have in mind;
With Mary we behold it, the virgin mother kind.
To show God’s love aright, she bore to men a Savior,
When half spent was the night.

The shepherds heard the story proclaimed by angels bright,
How Christ, the Lord of glory was born on earth this night.
To Bethlehem they sped and in the manger found Him,
As angel heralds said.

This Flower, whose fragrance tender with sweetness fills the air,
Dispels with glorious splendor the darkness everywhere;
True Man, yet very God, from sin and death He saves us,
And lightens every load.

O Savior, Child of Mary, who felt our human woe,
O Savior, King of glory, who dost our weakness know;
Bring us at length we pray, to the bright courts of Heaven,
And to the endless day!

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