Friday, December 23, 2011

Making a hero of Herod through music

I think I was in junior high when I became acquainted with this song, "Do You Hear What I Hear?", or maybe I was younger. Maybe I was in fifth or sixth grade. I don't recall. I just remember that we learned it for the school Christmas program in Republic.

I definitely remember at the time that the lyrics were screwy. See, I was a Baptist boy, and we Baptists (at least back in that day) took words, especially the words from the Bible, seriously. When the choir got to the verse about the king telling the people everywhere to listen to what he had to say and then proclaimed that they should pray for peace everywhere, I wondered what king they were talking about.

It was confusing to this young Ozarks Boy, for he had been taught in Sunday School that the king at the time of Christ's birth was Herod who was looking to kill the baby, not pray for peace. In fact, according to the gospel account, Herod used information from the Oriental astrologers, the magi or wise men or "three kings," to back date the possibility of the birth of the Messiah and had all the Jewish babies killed who were 2 years old or younger. Although Herod told the Magi he wanted to worship the new king, he was a liar. They figured that out and went a different route without telling him where they found him. It's all in The Bible; you could look it up.

This song did not fit into the gospel account that the young Ozarks Lad had learned at church. But I rared back and sang with gusto anyway, for I was told to, and I was obedient.
Link
Now the song is accepted into the canon of Christian music for Christmas. Here is the version by a contemporary Christian (I think, though I'm not sure, for I don't listen to that music) group:



And here are the lyrics:

Said the night wind to the little lamb
Do you see what I see
Way up in the sky little lamb
Do you see what I see
A star, a star
Dancing in the night
With a tail as big as a kite
With a tail as big as a kite

Said the little lamb to the shepard boy
Do you hear what I hear
Ringing through the sky shepard boy
Do you hear what I hear
A song, a song
High above the tree
With a voice as big as the sea
With a voice as big as the sea

Said the shepherd boy to the mighty king
Do you know what I know
In your palace wall mighty king
Do you know what I know
A child, a child
Shivers in the cold
Let us bring him silver and gold
Let us bring him silver and gold

Said the king to the people everywhere
Listen to what I say
Pray for peace people everywhere
Listen to what I say
The child, the child
Sleeping in the night
He will bring us goodness and light
He will bring us goodness and light

The child, the child
Sleeping in the night
He will bring us goodness and light

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