Probably my favorite Christmas carol is "Hark! The Herald Angels Sing." It may not be about an angel named Harold who fancied himself a world-class tenor, but I quite like it anyway. Why do I like it? One, I can actually sing it most days (a rarity for Christmas carols for me), and two, like most things I enjoy, it makes me think.
Few carols, to me, carry the theological weight of "Hark!" Take this part of the first verse: "God and sinners reconciled." Or this from the second: "Veiled in flesh the Godhead see; / Hail th'incarnate Deity." And consider my favorite line, coming in the third verse: "Mild He lays His glory by / Born that Man no more may die," followed by, "Born to raise the sons of earth, / Born to give them second birth." Here is the gospel: an infinite God put on finite human flesh to forgive their sins and put an end to death forever by granting us eternal life. That's as good as it gets, folks.
Never forget the significance of this. Never gloss over the reason Christ came nor the sacrifice he was to make later at the end of his earthly life, all for us. He was born that we would never die again. Life came to us at Christmas and went on to defeat death once and for all. Never again can death win, never can it rule our lives. And it's all because a baby was born in Bethlehem.
Harken unto that. Sit up and pay attention. Listen to the message proclaimed by the angels that night, and hear it with fresh ears and wonder anew: "For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Savior, which is Christ the Lord."