One of the main reasons a Christmas carol finds itself as ‘less popular’ is the language used in it. Quite often you will find that the carols that are very ‘Olde English’ often fall out of favour. Some can be revived with a ‘modern translation’ but some just wouldn’t be the same song if you ‘modernised’ it.
One carol that is very close to my heart is ‘Good King Weseslas’, no where in the song does it talk about Jesus but it holds a sentimentality to me as I sang it as a duet with a teacher in primary school, back in my National Boys Choir days when I could sing a beautiful First Soprano. I spent hours learning the words and they haven’t left me in the 15-18 years since.
The carol talks of a wealthy, high class, respectable man and his servant boy, who offers a meal and warm place to stay to poor man. As I said before, there is nothing about Jesus but it does talk about kindness to the less fortunate, a great message, but I think it can go a little deeper than that.
In the third verse we sing:
In his master’s steps he trod
Where the snow lay dinted
Heat was in the very sod
Which the Saint had printed
Very English I know, but I can’t help but envisage the Father/Son relationship God offers to us. I had a great connection with this teacher I sang with, he really cared for me and looked out for me as I was new to the school and had only recently moved after my parents divorce. I felt a kind of Father figure relationship to this supportive teacher so it is not a far stretch for me to think back to the feelings I had for this teacher and reckon that with the love I have for God and the support this teacher gave me was not unlike the support and guidance I fell from God.
As it says it the bible, God walks before us and will be with us every step of the way, he has walked the path before and all we have to do is follow the footsteps. That’s what Christ’s birth on earth gives us, the example of God in human flesh. Follow the footsteps even if there is any dints in the snow to make them obvious.
“Do not be afraid or discouraged, for the Lord will personally go ahead of you. He will be with you; he will neither fail you nor abandon you.” Deuteronomy 31:8 (NIV)