Singing “The Excellency Of Christ” by Jonathan Edwards

At the center of the Christmas story is the miracle of the incarnation—the eternal Son of God becoming human, fully God and fully man. We find the creator of all things in the form of a baby, dependent upon a mother and father to carry and clothe and feed him. This theme continues throughout his life, as the one who is the source of all creation trusts in his Father to provide his needs. He who is the life-giver is executed. He who will be given all authority in heaven and on earth submits himself to the will of God.

In 2004, as a young pastor, I read Jonathan Edwards’ sermon, “The Excellency of Christ.” This sermon from Revelation 5:5-6 discusses what Edwards calls the “admirable conjunction of diverse excellencies in Christ.” It is an extended meditation on the “meekness and majesty” that meet in Jesus Christ as described above. That sermon inspired me to pen a hymn so that I could worship Christ in song for these “diverse excellencies.”

The resulting text was “He is Altogether Lovely.” I’ve set the hymn to the tune “Hyfrydol,” to which we commonly sing “Come, Thou Long Expected Jesus.”

As we celebrate the birth of Jesus, let’s remember every aspect of his greatness—from his authority to his submission, from his power to his suffering, from his death to his resurrection and eternal reign. He is altogether lovely.