Tuesday, December 09, 2014

Sing Christmas Dec 9

Once in royal David's city
stood a lowly cattle shed,
where a mother laid her baby
in a manger for his bed:
Mary was that mother mild,
Jesus Christ her little child.

He came down to earth from heaven,
who is God and Lord of all,
and his shelter was a stable,
and his cradle was a stall;
with the poor and mean and lowly,
lived on earth our Saviour holy.

And, through all his wondrous childhood,
he would honour and obey,
love and watch the lowly maiden
in whose gentle arms he lay:
Christian children all must be
mild, obedient, good as he.

For he is our childhood's pattern,
day by day like us he grew;
he was little, weak and helpless,
tears and smiles like us he knew.
and he feeleth for our sadness,
and he shareth in our gladness.

And our eyes at last shall see him,
through his own redeeming love;
for that Child so dear and gentle
is our Lord in heaven above;
and he leads his children on
to the place where he is gone.

Not in that poor lowly stable,
with the oxen standing by,
we shall see him; but in heaven,
set at God's right hand on high;
when like stars his children crowned,
all in white shall wait around.

Mrs Cecil Frances Alexander 1818-1895

Mrs C. F.Alexander eventually became wife of the Bishop of Armagh, but had already written many hymns and poems for children (including “All things bright and beautiful”) by that time. The infancy she imagines for Jesus is just that, imaginary. We know very little about his childhood, except for the occasion at the age of twelve when he is found by his distraught parents in the Temple; they had set off for home and found him missing – not exactly the “mild, obedient, good” child of the hymn, perhaps?
But Mrs Alexander was certainly right to emphasise the fact that Jesus was a child, with the “tears and smiles” that normal childhood involves. As the second century Christian writer Ireneaus said, Christ became “what we are, that he might bring us to be even what he is himself.”

·         What kind of child were you (or are you still)? Can you imagine Jesus being the kind of child you were, and having the kind of childhood you had? If not, why not?
·         Look at the children around you today, with the opportunities and challenges they have. Imagine Christ as one of them.

Bible Reading: Jesus said: “Whoever does not receive the kingdom of God as a little child will never enter it.” Mark 10.15

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