Sunday, December 21, 2008

Please Don't Just Lie There Sleeping in Heavenly Peace!

It strikes me how many Christmas carols emphasize the theme of Baby Jesus Sleeping. We have "What child is this, who, laid to rest/ On Mary's lap is sleeping?" and "The Little Lord Jesus, asleep in the hay" and "Still, still, still, Weil's Kindlein schlafen will", which translates to, "Still, still, still, for the infant wants to sleep". And of course, there's "Sleep in heavenly peace". But what is this?

Tell me: as long as you are imagining yourself going to see the Baby Jesus (which is what happens in these carols), don't you hope, in fact rather desperately hope, that He will wake up while you are there? And smile at you, or reach out to be held by you, or even just see you and let you look into His eyes? Instead of "Sleep, sleep, sleep, my dear baby, sleep!" (the second verse of Still, Still, Still), wouldn't you really rather sing, "Wake, wake, wake, my dearest baby, wake!"?

So I think these carols should be rewritten, something along the lines of this example, the second verse of "Away in a Manger":

The cattle are lowing
The dear Baby wakes
And smiling upon us
A blessing He makes.
I thank Thee, Lord Jesus
For opening Thine eyes
And seeing my face
And hearing my sighs.