STLT#229, Gather ‘Round the Manger

Apologies for the delay – we had some technical difficulties out here on the Far Fringe. But we’re back!

Wow am I a creature of habit.

Thanks to this practice, I’m learning all these new Christmas songs, realizing that I never even bothered to look past the familiar title to the unfamiliar ones. I don’t know why, as a Unitarian Universalist, I wouldn’t be interested in seeing what we have to sing about the season; although I wonder if my “we are gonna celebrate Christmas with all the Jesus-Savior-Miracle language we can get and no one can stop me” attitude – which extends only through the music, by the way – has kept me from looking at carols like this, written by Unitarian Universalist minister Heather Lynn Hanson.

It’s a sweet little lullaby, this one. A nurturing, gentle song without the saccharine sweetness of the Away in a Manger tunes.

Gather ‘round the manger, softly, softly.
See the precious stranger. Sing Allelu.

Simple shepherds greet you, Jesu, Jesu.
Stately magi seek you. Sing Allelu.

Mary gently holds you, softly, softly.
Joseph’s love enfolds you. Sing Allelu.

Through the eons reaching, Jesu, Jesu,
Love’s great lesson teaching. Sing Allelu.

I love its completeness; with a few simple words, it tells the story of that moment. I love that it honors Joseph – I love its sense of import – and I love its sense of intimacy.

In a world that has gotten far too noisy and fraught with palace intrigue, espionage, and political entanglements, it is actually really nice to sing this gentle Christmas carol and be held by “Love’s great lesson.”

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