Sunday, December 9, 2012

Song for Sunday: Partners in the Mystery

Today's "Song for Sunday" is a fairly new Christmas song written by Ken Bible in 2000. We sang it in church this morning. The part that struck me was "Into darkness, into pain, unto death is given such a tiny precious life, such a gift from heaven!"

I love babies. I melt in their presence.

This song reminds of the difficulties for Mary that surrounded Jesus'  birth. A young woman, unmarried but engaged, finds herself pregnant and not by her fiancee. Indeed it would have been a scene of "Friends and family all upset, Joseph disillusioned." Joseph learned that Mary had done nothing wrong -- that she was still a virgin, having God's baby. He stood by her, but many would have shunned the young family. They would have looked askance at them, whispered behind their backs, perhaps worse. 

Today, we may find this difficult to comprehend because society has, in general, liberalized it's views about children being born outside of wedlock. While I firmly believe that the Bible teaches Christians to wait for marriage to have sex, I am glad that we no longer stigmatize the children of single parents and unmarried couples. Nor do I think that these children should be looked on as "consequences of sin." There may be consequences to such circumstances, some may even affect the child, but the baby itself is a blessing. Always. 

Be that as it may, back in first century Israel, Mary and Joseph would have had a tough time of it. Jesus, too. (This reminds me of story called The Long Silence.) This song reminds us of that.  

It also calls us into the grand story. Calls us to recognize this baby, as Simeon and Anna did, as the King of the Universe. 

Partners in the Mystery
What a blessing God has sent!
Now, before the wedding,
Virgin Mary, good and pure,
Suddenly expecting;
Friends and family all upset,
Joseph disillusioned.
Still they trust the guiding Word
Through their dark confusion.

See the tender Mary there-
Like so many others,
Young and scared and all alone,
Soon to be a mother.
Into darkness, into pain,
Unto death is given
Such a tiny precious life,
Such a gift from heaven.

In the temple, what a sight!
After years of waiting,
Now before his very eyes
There the Promised Baby!
There the Light of all the world!
There for all the nations,
Sleeping in his folded arms,
Heaven's sweet salvation!

What a privilege! What a call!
Partners in the myst'ry!
We who walk by faith become
Part of holy hist'ry.
Rich and poor, the young and old,
Fill the timeless story.
All who boldly follow God
See and share His glory.

Words by Ken Bible
Music: Traditional, arr. by Sir John Stainer
Copyright 2000 by Pilot Point Music

What new Christmas songs captures your imagination?

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