God With Us- A Celebration of Advent

by wade baynham

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about

I have found that preparing for Christmas, or what some celebrate as the season of Advent, can be particularly challenging in this day and age. But maybe it's been challenging for as long as there have been Christmases.

For me, I can struggle to remain connected to the poverty and humility in the story of Jesus coming to Earth. This culture desires and respects power and wealth; I've been taught that my whole life. Emmanuel, one of the names of Jesus, literally means 'God with us;' but in my experience, we mostly want the gods to bring us power and wealth, not simply be with us-- not simply be one of us.

Admittedly, this story of God coming to Earth is unexpected-- for God to come in such humble circumstances, to such ordinary people. True, there are some messengers from God, who appear a few times to the people in the story. And a few scholars coming from 'the East' travel a great distance, saying they want to pay respects to their child, bringing a few precious gifts. And we hear about the jealousy of the local king, Herod, and his efforts to find and kill this little boy. There are clues that something important may be going on. But without us bringing our own humility and willingness to the story, I don't think the story means very much.

So, as I have tried to take this story to heart, these songs have spoken to me. And they encourage me to sit back, meditate, reflect and wonder at what God is up to, as Jesus comes to be with us today and is still one of us today-- How God sees, knows and values all of us.

Dreaming up new arrangements to old carols, and writing and recording some new material about this very old story, gave me hope that you might find space to consider for yourself the meaning of the coming of Emmanuel-- why 'God coming to all of us' can be good news for all of us to celebrate.

Merry Christmas

credits

released November 3, 2019

Created by Wade Baynham from 2017 to 2019 at The Second Story in Durham, NC.

Photography and cover design by Denise Baynham.

Many, many thanks to Denise for all her love and tangible support. Thanks to Jack Hester. Thank you to all of you who listen and support the music!

license

all rights reserved

tags

Track Name: O Christmas Tree
Traditional German
music early 16th century
Track Name: Hark! The Herald Angels Sing
Traditional
words by Charles Wesley and George Whitefield
music by Felix Mendelssohn
Track Name: Coventry Carol
Traditional 16th century English carol
Track Name: According to Joe
words and music by wade baynham

Hard traveling with a pregnant wife
To pay taxes to a brutal invader
The baby wasn't even mine
I wonder how I could cover the crime

That dream, that dream where the angel
That angel called Gabriel
Told me that I shouldn't worry
I should marry her straight away

Raise this boy as my own
God's son come to save us all
To deliver us from the cruelty and slavery
The shame that we all know so well

He said the Light of the World had come to me
The Light of the World had come to us all
In the strangest of ways, in the poorest of places
To the lowest of people
God this is so strange and humbling
And I am so amazed

So finally we came to an inn
They just turned us away
And the cave they shared with their animals
Was the best place anyone would give

We sweated and cried and prayed through the birth
But in the end, there he was
So we wrapped him in what little cloth we had
And laid him in a manger for the night

' Because the Light of the World had come to us
The Light of the World had come to us all
In the strangest of ways, in the poorest of places
To the lowest of people
God this is so strange and humbling
And I am so amazed

As the angel said, we called him Jesus
And just when it couldn't get any darker
Shepherds came and told us of a great light
An enormous choir of angels

God's messengers telling us of this little boy
Of God come to be one of us
So they came to share in our wonder
They came to share in our joy

That the Light of the World had come to Earth
The Light of the World had come to us all
In the strangest of ways, in the poorest of places
To the lowest of people
God this is so strange and humbling
And I am so amazed

The Light of the World had come to me
The Light of the World had come to us all
In the strangest of ways, in the poorest of places
To the lowest of people
God this is so strange and humbling
And I am so amazed
Track Name: Away in a Manger
Traditional American Carol 19th century
Track Name: Cherry Tree Carol- The First Noel Medley
Traditional
Cherry Tree Carol English 15th century
The First Noel English 19th century
Track Name: In the Bleak Midwinter
Traditional
music by Gustav Holst
lyrics by Christina Rosetti
Track Name: Mary's Boy Child
words and music by Jester Hairston

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