WHICH is your favourite Christmas Carol?
According to a survey published in Dec 2003, two thirds of those asked said that they knew all the words to ‘Away In A Manger’; ‘Silent Night’ and ‘O Little Town of Bethlehem’ came second and third respectively.
Personally, while I can see its attraction for young children, ‘Away In A Manger’ is one of my least favourite carols.
This is because I’m not convinced it conveys an accurate or true image of baby Jesus, when it suggests that ‘no crying he makes’.
The carol gives the impression that Jesus was somehow less than fully human.
All the babies that I have ever known have certainly done there fair share of crying.
Some babies only have to look at me and they burst out crying!
I baptised a little boy the other week and as soon as his mother gave him to me he started to scream his head off and that was before we got anywhere near the water.
The New Testament however, clearly shows that Jesus was fully human, and we see that he displays a full range of human emotions and feelings.
We are told that he was tired and hungry after a long journey. Frequently we read that he was filled with compassion for those who were ill: he was also angry, when he saw how the religious leaders were abusing the temple for their own ends.
We are even told that he was tempted to do wrong. And we do know that he did in fact cry, at the graveside of his friend Lazarus.
It is actually very important that we understand that while Jesus in one sense was unique, in that he was God, he was also fully human, just like you and me.
If Jesus was not fully human he could not die in our place, and deal with the problem of sin, making it possible for us to be forgiven and to enjoy a relationship with God.
Rev David Stevenson
Vicar of Brinsley with Underwood & St Mary’s Eastwood