December 25, 2017
Christmas carols make this time of the year so special. The traditional English carol “The First Noel” can be traced back to the 13th century; “Silent Night” 1816; “O Come, All Ye Faithful” in Latin “Adeste Fideles” 1743; “Joy to the World” 1719. But not all carols are that old. “The Little Drummer Boy” originally “Carol of the Drum” was composed by Katherine Kennicott Davis in 1941” and “Do You Hear What I Hear” with lyrics by Noel Regney and music by Gloria Shayne Baker in October 1962. It was composed at the time of the Cuban Missile Crisis and the threat of Nuclear War.
“Said the night wind to the little lamb, do you see what I see…”
“Said the little lamb to the Shepherd boy, do you hear what I hear …”
“Said the Shepherd boy to the mighty King, do you know what I know …”
This Christmas carol helps us un-wrap the Infancy Narratives in the Gospels according to Saints Matthew and Luke.
St. Matthew tells us an angel comes to St. Joseph in a dream to explain that Mary is with child through the Holy Spirit and Joseph is asked by God to take Mary into his home as his wife and name the boy Jesus. Matthew also tells us that there is a star that guides Wise Ones to Bethlehem to pay homage to the new born king of the Jews.
St. Luke tells us that Joseph and Mary journey to Bethlehem. Once there Mary gives birth, wraps the baby in swaddling clothes and lays him in a manger because there is no room for travelers. Luke also tells us that angels proclaim good news to nearby shepherds tending sheep who come to see the wondrous events.
Do we see Mary wrapping the child and placing Jesus in a manger, a troth or box for grain for animals? Do we see the star in the night sky leading us to Bethlehem? Do we hear the angels asking Joseph to take Mary and Jesus into his home? Do we hear the angels praising God for the birth of the savior? Do we know the deeper meaning and significance of what the evangelists are saying?
If we see, if we hear, if we know then we will be able to say and sing:
“Said the king to the people everywhere,
Listen to what I say
Pray for peace, people everywhere!
Listen to what I say
The Child, the Child, sleeping in the night
He will bring us goodness and light
He will bring us goodness and light.”
Fourth Sunday of Advent