Day 10: Some Children See Him

Today’s carol was not familiar to me as a kid. I suppose it’s because it was only ten years old when I was born. It wasn’t until I sang it in a Christmas choral event that I really became familiar with it. Since then, It has become one of my favorites.

A part of me wants to rebel against the overall theme of the lyrics, however, as they suggest that Jesus can be made in our own image; that whoever we need him to be, however we want to see him, that’s who he will be. And that’s just not the way it is. In fact, making God in our own image is an age-old dangerous heresy.

Some children see Him lily white,
the baby Jesus born this night.
Some children see Him lily white,
with tresses soft and fair.
Some children see Him bronzed and brown,
The Lord of heav’n to earth come down.
Some children see Him bronzed and brown,
with dark and heavy hair.

Some children see Him almond-eyed,
this Savior whom we kneel beside.
some children see Him almond-eyed,
with skin of yellow hue.
Some children see Him dark as they,
sweet Mary’s Son to whom we pray.
Some children see him dark as they,
and, ah! they love Him, too! 

The children in each different place
will see the baby Jesus’ face
like theirs, but bright with heavenly grace,
and filled with holy light.
O lay aside each earthly thing
and with thy heart as offering,
come worship now the infant King.
‘Tis love that’s born tonight!

While the danger of making God into our own image, or of seeing Jesus as we want him to be is certainly there, I prefer to see a real positive side of this – as you likely do, too. And it is this:

…for in Christ Jesus you are all sons of God, through faith. For as many of you as were baptized into Christ have put on Christ. There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither slave nor free, there is no male and female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus.
(Galatians 3:26-28 ESV)

It’s not that we get to determine what Jesus looks like, but rather it’s that nothing about our own cultural differences can exclude us from the family of God. When Paul wrote Galatians, the differences between Jew and Greek, slave and free, male and female were enormous. But in Christ, says Paul, we are all equal. So today, whether a child is lily white, bronzed and brown, or of yellow hue, they are children of God through their faith in Jesus Christ – the thoroughly Jewish baby with olive skin and dark, curly hair, born in Bethlehem.

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