Do You Hear What I Hear?

Like the gospel of Matthew upon which it is based, the song asks the question: what will you do with the good news of God-with-us? 

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… Said the shepherd boy to the mighty king, do you know what I know? In your palace walls mighty king, do you know what I know? A child, a child shivers in the cold. Let us bring him silver and gold.

This is by far my favorite Christmas song of all time. I can still hear the version from my Disney tape that I had as a small child back in the ’80s. Though I knew very little of the exact story behind the song at the time, the messages dancing through the lyrics spoke to my heart even then.

The song was written in the fall of 1962 by a married couple who were seeking peace in the midst of the Cuban Missile Crisis – at least that’s the legend. And it is based (in the Hollywood movie sense) upon the nativity story from the gospels. Obviously, they took some license.

The song moves from the night wind to a lamb to a shepherd to a king to the whole world. It starts with the people (and things) we often overlook before turning to those who hold the traditional positions of power.

Like the gospel of Matthew upon which it is based, the song asks the question: what will you do with the good news of God-with-us?

What should you do? First, you should share it with those who can help. Second, you should find ways to help. You help all the other children (and grown-up children, i.e. everybody) that God so loves. And third, you hold on tight to the promise that the Light is shining in the darkness on Christmas is one that nothing will ever overcome.

On this Christmas Eve, listen again to this children’s classic and remember that Christmas is about more than just remembering one moment in Bethlehem. It is about seeing that Child in the face of everyone we meet and doing all we can to make this world a better place. Happy Christmas!


Traditional Hymns & Carols – O Holy Night

Lessons & Carols – Hark! The Herald Angels Sing

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