Away in a Manger — The Little Lord Who Did Not Cry

This year’s Christmas Eve sermon on Silent Night reminded me of a sermon I preached on Christmas Morning, 2011 looking at the message of the Christmas carol “Away in a Manger.”

Some Christian leaders refuse to sing “Away in a Manger,” citing the lyrics (namely, “the little Lord Jesus, no crying he makes”) as “odd or misleading,” saying, “This lyric misses a key aspect of the Incarnation: Jesus entered into our suffering.” I disagree.

This sermon examines the beloved Christmas carol and defends its message—a reminder and celebration of Jesus’ divinity and humanity, his majesty and his humility. Continue reading “Away in a Manger — The Little Lord Who Did Not Cry”

Peace on Earth — The 200th Anniversary of “Silent Night”

On Christmas Eve 1818, at Saint Nicholas parish church in Orbendorf (a village in the Austrian Empire), the carol “Silent Night” was first performed. The parish priest, Joseph Mohr, had composed the words the year before. River flooding had damaged the church organ, so Mohr asked Franz Xaver Gruber—an organist in a nearby village—to compose an accompaniment for guitar. And so, 200 years ago tonight, the Christmas Carol “Silent Night” was born.* Continue reading “Peace on Earth — The 200th Anniversary of “Silent Night””

A Christmas Carol

The season of Advent is incomplete without the singing of Christmas carols.

This week’s song— “How Beautiful the Mystery” —is  based on a Christmas carol I wrote in late 2000 as the text of our Christmas card. (Go ahead. Follow the link and have a listen. You can finish this post later.) I set the original text of this song to the existing hymn tune “Manoah.” Ten years later, my friends David Ward and Jeff Bourque would write a new tune, for which we added a chorus and additional verse. Continue reading “A Christmas Carol”