The Hour of the Christ

I had the privilege of playing a benefit last weekend with some friends and this song off of the 11:43am record was in the set. Afterward, I was encouraged by Adam Nevins, who put on the benefit, to post this on my blog. So here it is with a little background.

As a recovering church cynic, I have always struggled to get something out of the traditional Christmas carols (and the Christmas season in general). They seem to be built more around the sentimental fictional nativity scene and not so much set in the reality of what the gospels hold (although, there are certainly some exceptions and I have been introduced in recent years to quite a few that have greater depth).

In fact,  the point of the gospel accounts is not to paint a quaint rural scene but to confirm prophecies like Isaiah 53, that from the very beginning, the Savior of the world would suffer. The birth of Jesus takes place in a context of real poverty (giving birth in a dirty animal shelter) and oppressive captivity (being forced by the occupying government to travel out of town to file a census). On top of that, the only people that get the immensity of who this child is, are some Gentile seers and Herod. Of course the angels do appear to some shepherds (read: truck drivers) who end up being the only eye witnesses to the baby in the food trough.

The interesting thing is that Herod does get it. He doesn’t get the whole picture but when the travelers from the east show up and talk about the star, he understands that something big is happening. So much so, that he kills every baby two years old and under in Bethlehem and its surrounding areas trying to keep himself safe from the threat of this newborn king.

So why am I writing all of this? When we see Jesus in the manger we need to see him as a revolutionary, an antagonist, someone who is dangerous and will totally turn upside down every system of this world. That baby in the manger is the one who will say, “I did not come to bring peace, but a sword.” 

So…there you are…Merry Christmas! Jesus is Lord!

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The Hour of the Christ      (listen)      (chords)

There’s a rumor on the breeze,
Midnight cold upon the grass,
Above the tents of darkened kings,
A star appears of golden glass.
What it is and what it means,
Sends a chill among their camp,
Like chariots at the opening sea,
It’s a message from the great “I AM”

Herod cannot sleep tonight,
Terror sings outside his door,
He can hear the angels tell,
“The Christ is born who is the Lord!”
Who he is and what he brings,
Is justice to the weak and poor,
Those who wait their Light will see,
And He himself will end the war

Kingdom’s coming like a storm,
Kingdom’s coming like a storm,
Kingdom’s coming like a storm.
Can you hear the Lord?  Can you hear him call?

Burst the gates and shout for joy!
The Savior mighty sets you free!
Run to him and don’t look back,
For in Him you have all good things.
Jesus after all was done,
Took his seat at God’s right hand,
Said he soon would come again,
And put his sword within our hand!

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