What is your favorite Christmas carol? Martin Luther may have had a few, but I think it’s a little different if your favorite Christmas carol is the one that you write yourself. In 1535 he published From Heaven Above to Earth I Come. The previous Christmas when it was most likely written his son Hans would have been 8 and his daughter Lenchen would have been 5. While we don’t know exactly how Luther would have set up a Christmas pageant, there is a suggested version found on the Martin Luther College website HERE. There are a number of other resources from the celebration of the 500th Anniversary of the Protestant Reformation on that page if you scroll down.
Luther’s creation of a Christmas pageant is a good reminder of the importance of Christian education. In the Gospel of Matthew Jesus reminds us that children are part of the kingdom of heaven. Children are little people with souls, a full set of emotions, all with varying levels of intelligence. That’s not that different from the adult population. One of the best things we can do with our time is teach children the truths of Scripture. Luther said it this way:
Let no one think he is too wise and disdain such child’s play. When Christ wished to teach men, he became a man. If we wish to teach children, we must become children. Would to God we had more of this child’s play. We should then see in a short time a great treasure of Christian people, souls rich in the Scriptures and in the knowledge of God.
When Scriptural truths are combined with song we have a powerful tool for Christian education. One of my joys in life is to walk people through a Bible information class. To see the Spirit of God open a heart once closed to the Gospel is wonderful. Communicating that message can be done is many different ways. Songs and carols can do just that!
Consider Luther’s autobiographical hymn Dear Christians One and All, Rejoice. In it Luther talks about the struggles he went through to satisfy what the thought was a vengeful God. The transition of a soul tormented to a soul at peace and free gives us a little glimpse as to why Luther would risk everything to protect and proclaim the Gospel of Jesus once he found it. Jesus has done everything for us. All we do is believe it. Even that faith is a gift of the Spirit.
Please click HERE to find the Bible class slides.