7 How beautiful upon the mountains
are the feet of him who brings good news,
who publishes peace, who brings good news of happiness,
who publishes salvation,
who says to Zion, “Your God reigns.”
8 The voice of your watchmen—they lift up their voice;
together they sing for joy;
for eye to eye they see
the return of the Lord to Zion.
9 Break forth together into singing,
you waste places of Jerusalem,
for the Lord has comforted his people;
he has redeemed Jerusalem.
10 The Lord has bared his holy arm
before the eyes of all the nations,
and all the ends of the earth shall see
the salvation of our God.
In the 17th century, the puritan government under Oliver Cromwell outlawed the singing of Christmas carols along with any celebration of Christmas as a holiday. Such celebrations were deemed an offense to God as they were frivolous and distracted people from the proper consideration of their sinfulness. It was one step too far for the good people of England. They were willing to abide by many of the cranky ideas the puritans had but this would not stand. They would have their beloved Christmas carols. Riots broke out after the law was promulgated in 1644. One of this reasons King Charles II was welcomed back to the throne when the monarchy was reestablished was because he swept away all these laws which forbade Christmas celebrations.
Christmas simply will be celebrated with a song. Isaiah sees the watchmen of Israel lifting their voices and singing. Even the waste lands, the empty places where no one lives, echo with songs as the whole world rejoices in what God has done. When God shows up with salvation, we sing. The world which has observed its commercial version of Christmas is weary and done with its holiday by now. The focus is on the resolutions of New Year’s Day. We can do little about that and I would not even try. But you can celebrate a feast which really will never end. Jesus, after all, has not laid aside his human nature but risen as a human and ascended with it to heavenly glory. Sing a Christmas carol today. Join those watchmen on Zion’s heights. The Lord has comforted his people. All the ends of the earth shall see the salvation of our God.