Infant holy, infant lowly, for his bed a cattle stall; oxen lowing, little knowing Christ the babe is Lord of all. Swift are winging angels singing, noels ringing, tidings bringing: Christ the babe is Lord of all! Christ the babe is Lord of all!
This gentle lullaby offers a peaceful rendering of the Nativity story. It illuminates small, essential pieces of the picture that we see so much this time of year. Yet, in doing so, it offers us a fresh glimpse into the sights we see.
Originally a Polish carol, written during the 13th or 14th century, this English translation is one that has been used in many forms. I myself had the chance to sing an arrangement during my work on Lessons & Carols as a teenager. The lilting melody offers a sweet innocence to the narrative.
During this week of chaotic preparation and difficult decisions happening around us, this carol offers us the opportunity to rest, if even for a moment, in the peaceful joy of the story we are telling. Even if we get distracted, or know the tale by heart, or could not possibly listen to it one more time – the message of the angels at the end of each stanza is one that we all need to hear. First, that Christ, this little baby, is in fact Lord of all, God with us. And second, that Christ, the little baby, was born for you and for me, because God loves us. Every one.
May this beautiful melody give you a short respite in the midst of such a busy week: Flocks were sleeping; shepherds keeping vigil till the morning new saw the glory, heard the story, tidings of the gospel true. Thus rejoicing, free from sorrow, praising voicing greet the morrow: Christ the babe was born for you! Christ the babe was born for you!
Reverse Advent Calendar: Put away a bit of money every day during this season and then use it to purchase an animal for a family overseas. Programs like Heifer International create sustainable food sources for those with very little by providing them with an animal, such as a goat or a cow, that will give multiple sources of food over an extended period. These are truly gifts that keep on giving.