Messing with Christmas songs

A belated Merry Christmas!

Last evening we visited a conservative, by ELCA standards, church, mainly to hear the music. After a bit we noticed a few things weren’t quite right. In the theological heavyweight “Hark! The Herald Angels Sing,” we sang:

Pleased with us in flesh to dwell

And then soon afterward:

Born that we no more may die

Now, the real words to the song are “Pleased as man with men to dwell” and “born that man no more may die.” By then even the slow afoot (that would be me) had caught on, so I sang “born to raise the sons of earth” instead of the obnoxious “born to raise each child of earth.”

In “It Came Upon the Midnight Clear,” we were offered the not-so-enchanting:

Peace on the earth, good will to all.

After the service, several family members asked something along the lines of “What the dickens was that all about?” Why did we sing those dunderheaded alternate lines? Evangelical feminists will tell you that they are just clarifying terminology to help us understand that “man” means “men and women.” But these feminists are doing (quite intentionally, I believe) the exact opposite: obfuscating. Eve was formed from, and created for, Adam, and thus “men” and “sons” are truly inclusive terms.

But this foundational Biblical concept offends the sensibilities of the tolerant (whose Scriptural understanding is oddly similar to that of the world), and so… Change the words!

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