I thought “Jingle Bells” was a secular song

In my youth, we sang “Jingle Bells” along with such happy-mood Christmas songs as “Chestnuts Roasting on an Open Fire,” “Let It Snow,” and “Rudolph the Red-nosed Reindeer.”

In the 1980s, our family moved to Spain, and to our surprise, we opened our hymnals to find “Jingle Bells” ensconced in hymnology. The song title is “Navidad” (Christmas), and the Spanish version has the same tune as “Jingle Bells.” (I always want to shout “hey” at the end.)

It is about the story of Christmas: Jesus, the Baby of Bethlehem. The song speaks about salvation.

A rough translation of the main verse goes: The Baby of Bethlehem brings us salvation; / With boundless joy, we sing the song. / I love You, my Jesus, to You I will sing. / In this happy day, I will rejoice.

The Baby Jesus brings salvation.

God’s plan of redemption boggles the mind. The whole concept of God taking human form—along with everything that goes with it—and coming down to mankind in order to sacrifice Himself for humans is almost incredible. But it’s true. God chose to limit Himself to flesh, live a perfect life, and die a horrible death, then rise again in victory to save lousy, sinning people.

I love the way Philippians explains this: Let this mind be in you, which was also in Christ Jesus: Who, being in the form of God, thought it not robbery to be equal with God: But made himself of no reputation, and took upon him the form of a servant, and was made in the likeness of men: And being found in fashion as a man, he humbled himself, and became obedient unto death, even the death of the cross (2:5-8).

We’re supposed to have that kind of servant mindfulness as Jesus. Do we?

God planned this before Creation. Forasmuch as ye know that ye were not redeemed with corruptible things, as silver and gold, from your vain conversation received by tradition from your fathers; But with the precious blood of Christ, as of a lamb without blemish and without spot: Who verily was foreordained before the foundation of the world, but was manifest in these last times for you, Who by him do believe in God, that raised him up from the dead, and gave him glory; that your faith and hope might be in God (1 Peter 1:18-21).

Jesus was conscious, even from a fairly early age, that He was here for a purpose. When He was only twelve, He said, Wist (know) ye not that I must be about my Father’s business? (from Luke 2:49) 

Before He died on the cross, Jesus clearly said exactly what would happen. The disciples didn’t seem to comprehend until afterwards. The Son of man must suffer many things, and be rejected of the elders and chief priests and scribes, and be slain, and be raised the third day (Luke 9:22).

Jesus knew the plan, announced it, and was willing to obey the Father and carry it through.

His motivation?

Love.

For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life. For God sent not his Son into the world to condemn the world; but that the world through him might be saved (John 3:16-17).

This Christmas can be your happiest. Look what Jesus did for you. Confess your sins to Him, ask His forgiveness, and thank Him for being your Savior.

Navidad, Navidad, Hoy es Navidad. Es un día de alegría y felicidad. Christmas, Christmas, Today is Christmas. It’s a day for joy and happiness.

(Hey!)