Home > Advent > Hallelujah

I am heart deep into the Christmas season. Last Friday evening I attended my first Christmas concert of the season at Malone University where my oldest grandson, Nathan, performed with their department of music. Advent, which means “to come,” is a time for Christians to remember and rejoice in the birth of the Messiah born in Bethlehem.  Advent is also a reminder that Jesus did not remain in the manager, but died and rose again, as the lyrics of a Lenten hymn remind us. “’Man of Sorrows,’ what a name, for the Son of God who came. Ruined sinners to reclaim!  Hallelujah! What a Savior.”

Last Tuesday I woke up early to prepare my heart for the day and decided to catch up on what’s happening in the lives of my friends on Facebook. Most of you are aware I tend to be pretty critical of this means of communication.  I often find it to be filled with nonsense and agitated badgering.  However, once in a while something worthy of my time will pop up on my feed, and that’s what happened on that Tuesday morning.  I discovered a band from Kansas called Cloverton, who took Leonard Cohen’s original version of the song, “Hallelujah,” and wrote their own Christmas version.

To be honest, even though I was drawn in by the melody of Leonard Cohen’s song, I personally found the message of the song to be both confusing and somewhat disturbing.  I am a fan, though, of his attempt to communicate that Hallelujah (which means, “Praise to God”) should be declared in the good and bad times.

When I heard the Christmas version of this same song by Cloverton, I just wept.  I was drawn in by the journey the song takes from Christ’s birth through His death.  When they got to the end, though, I felt like something was missing.  Leaving Jesus on the cross didn’t tell, as Paul Harvey used to say, “the rest of the story.”

So at 3:30 a.m. on Thursday morning I decided to finish the story with Mark Ford’s version that takes the journey from the cross to Christ’s second return.  Before you read my meager attempt to “tell the rest of the story,” would you indulge me by listening to “A Hallelujah Christmas” by the Cloverton Band?  I’ve included the first and last stanzas below so you can get a feel for the lyrics.

I’ve heard about this baby boy
Who’s come to earth to bring us joy
And I just want to sing this song to you
It goes like this, the fourth, the fifth
The minor fall, the major lift
With every breath I’m singing Hallelujah
Hallelujah, Hallelujah, Hallelujah, Hallelujah

I know You came to rescue me
This baby boy would grow to be
A man and one day die for me and you
My sins would drive the nails in You
That rugged cross was my cross, too
Still every breath You drew was Hallelujah
Hallelujah, Hallelujah, Hallelujah, Hallelujah

Here’s the Mark Ford ending.

Christ died for me, He died for you

We both rejoice because it’s true

And yet there’s more I declare to you

He rose again from an empty tomb

He lives today in me and you

So we will live forever more, hallelujah

Hallelujah, Hallelujah, Hallelujah, Hallelujah

 

 Christ left us for a little while

To prepare a home for us in the sky

With words to share the good news with you

The good news is there’s more to come

The battle is fought, the war is won

So we can live in victory, Hallelujah

Hallelujah, Hallelujah, Hallelujah, Hallelujah

 

One day Christ will appear again

To take us to our final home

And I will bow in worship with you

We will shout forever more

With those who have gone before

And with the angels we will cry, Hallelujah

Hallelujah, Hallelujah, Hallelujah, Hallelujah

 

To all the pilgrims here below

Stay true to Christ and serve the Lord

And Let Christ’s light shine brightly through you

Complete the race and turn your face

To Heaven’s King the one who reigns

Today may be the day He comes, Hallelujah

Hallelujah, Hallelujah, Hallelujah, Hallelujah

Hallelujah, Hallelujah, Hallelujah, Hallelujah

At the beginning of the blog I referenced another Hallelujah song often sung during the Lenten season. The author of this great hymn refers to Christ as a Man of Sorrows as a description of Christ’s suffering on the cross.  This term “Man of Sorrows” is taken from Isaiah’s messianic prophecy in chapter 53, which paints a portrait of Christ’s suffering.  However, the song doesn’t stop with the first verse painting Jesus as a Man of Sorrows.  This powerful Hymn of the Church “tells the rest of the story” as well.  Read the words slowly.

 2 Bearing shame and scoffing rude,

In my place condemned He stood;

Sealed my pardon with His blood;

Hallelujah! what a Savior!

 

3 Guilty, vile, and helpless, we,

Spotless Lamb of God was He;

Full redemption—can it be?

Hallelujah! what a Savior!

 

4 Lifted up was He to die,

“It is finished!” was His cry;

Now in heaven exalted high;

Hallelujah! what a Savior!

 

5 When He comes, our glorious King,

To His kingdom us to bring,

Then anew this song we’ll sing

Hallelujah! what a Savior!

I’ll leave you with this final thought.  In the good times and in the bad times, during the Advent season or the Lenten season, Hallelujah is in season.  In this Advent season, regardless of whatever comes your way, just raise your hand and say, HALLELUJAH ANYHOW!