Advent Devotional Dec 10: Do You Hear What I Hear?

Do You Hear What I Hear?

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ADj-Ru3JQp0

Said the night wind to the little lamb

Do you see what I see
Way up in the sky little lamb
Do you see what I see
A star, a star
Dancing in the night
With a tail as big as a kite
With a tail as big as a kite

Said the little lamb to the shepherd boy
Do you hear what I hear
Ringing through the sky shepherd boy
Do you hear what I hear
A song, a song
High above the tree
With a voice as big as the sea
With a voice as big as the sea

Said the shepherd boy to the mighty king
Do you know what I know
In your palace wall mighty king
Do you know what I know
A child, a child
Shivers in the cold
Let us bring him silver and gold
Let us bring him silver and gold

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

The child, the child
Sleeping in the night
He will bring us goodness and light

 

This is another “traditional” carol that I love.  I was surprised to learn that it isn’t actually that old as far as Christmas carols go, it was written in 1962 as a plea for peace in the midst of the Cuban missile crisis.  In the midst of a time of great fear this song was a reminder, like that of the angels to the shepherds, to be not afraid.  It was also a call to speak a different truth.

The song mimics who God chooses as messengers as the lowly and marginalized become the people “in the know” about the child.  And the message grows in nature and hope (incarnation explosion!).  The wind, I imagine, whispers to the lamb, “I see something, do you see it too?”  The lamb mews to the shepherd, “I hear something, do you hear it too?”  The shepherd boy walks (boldly, sheepishly, head lowered or raised high?) into the presence of a mighty king and winks at him, “I know something, do you know it too?”  And the king proclaims, “Peace, goodness, and light!”

So how does it speak a different truth?  Well we don’t really know who this king is.  Representing a wise man, bringing gifts of silver and gold?  Maybe.  It would be hard to present the king of Jesus’ day in King Herod, or in Caesar back in Rome.  It clearly isn’t THE king in Jesus himself.  The song doesn’t answer that question… but when I think of this song in terms of the days when it was written I imagine the king is meant to be those in power in our day.  That fighting over pride and land and ideology and power makes no sense, not in the midst of the message of peace, goodness, and light.

The call of the song, understood in this way, is for us to be like the shepherd boy willing to speak truth to our “kings.”  A willingness to walk, sheepishly and boldly, into the light of our politics and say, “do you know what I know?”  I know of peace… of goodness… of light.  I know a different way, a better way, than flexing our might, a way of humility and grace.  It’s a way creation itself is showing (a star, a star), and singing (a voice as big as the sea).  And it points out the wrongness of kings in palaces while children shiver in the night.  So let us stop playing our games, and let us pray for peace… for wholeness… for goodness and light for all people.

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About Andrew Kukla

I am the proud father of four wonderful children, loving husband to Caroline, brother to three mostly wonderful sisters, and son of two parents that gifted me with a foundation of love and freedom. I also am a Presbyterian pastor and former philosophy major with a love of too many words (written with many grammatical errors and parenthetic thoughts), Soren Kierkegaard, and reflections on living a life of discipleship that is open to all the challenges, ups and downs, brokenness and grace, of a chaotic and wonderful life founded upon the love of God for all of creation.

Posted on December 10, 2012, in Uncategorized. Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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