That news can bring about inspiration from the oddest angles. This past year, as I was thinking about Advent in advance some months ago, I began thinking along the lines of Christmas carols; specifically, I thought it might be nice to have a new carol in the mix.
Which of course led me to think, Maybe you should do that yourself.
It was around that time I was also thinking through some meditations from former UN Secretary-General Dag Hammarskjold (long story as to why). He had many spiritual musings, but the one that especially resonated with me is the following:
"How appropriate that Christmas should follow Advent. For him who looks to the future, the manger is already situated at Golgotha, and the Cross has already been raised in Bethlehem."
The more I considered that quote, the more I wondered about how to express that cosmic dimension of Christ's birth, how it was the launching moment toward his ministry, death, resurrection, and the restoration of all things. The more I considered that, the more a tune came to mind...that of the Welsh song "The Ash Grove" (sung here by Laura Wright), because...well, I'm Welsh!
Four hours later (with some last-minute touches months later before the final copyright), I had--much to my surprise--done it.
A new carol, with the manger of Bethlehem as the genesis of the turning point of history. A new carol, capturing the birth of, death of, resurrection of, and restoration wrought by the Christ Child of that manger. A new carol where the Cross, empty tomb, and the riven skies of the Apocalypse find their beginning in the manger.
By no means do I claim this will be a classic, but it's an offering of humility tracing the story of Jesus. May that be enough to warm our hearts with Advent hope.
In it's final form..."The Christ Child"
Written by Luke H. Davis (2015)
Tune: The Ash Grove (Welsh melody)
The Christ Child has come, the Lord dwelling among us,
The Savior descending from Heaven’s bright throne.
From ages long promised, now here in time’s fullness,
Our King born to claim us redeemed as His own!
The Christ Child has come! The babe born of a virgin,
He reigns and ordains since the ages began.
The manger ensconces this grand Incarnation,
Jesus, Friend of Sinners, the true Son of Man.
The Christ Child has come and, obediently living,
He teaches and heals and to sinners draws nigh.
In willingness pure and our judgment embracing,
The Lamb to the slaughter, he goes forth to die.
The Christ Child has come, the one slain for rebellion,
The fair Rose of Sharon now crushed to the stem.
The manger commences our wond’rous redemption:
The Servant of Suff’ring born in Bethlehem.
The Christ Child has come! The Great Debt has been canceled,
The satisfied Father thus shatters the grave—
Now raised from the death throes unable to hold him,
The Lion, triumphant and mighty to save.
The Christ Child has come—Glorious hope he has given,
And we by His blood shall stand, never condemned!
The manger leads on toward his great resurrection:
The Lord’s conqu’ring vict’ry dawns in Bethlehem.
The Christ Child has come, His shalom never ceasing,
His children the servants renewing God’s world—
Though kingdoms oppose Him—His peace still increasing,
His cov’nant of grace through the ages unfurled.
The Christ Child has come, all things new He shall fashion;
All honor and blessing forever to Him!
The manger, the beacon to all restoration:
Our journey to glory forged in Bethlehem.