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KOK Edit: your favorite copyeditor since 1984(SM) KOK Edit: your favorite copyeditor since 1984(SM) Katharine O'Moore Klopf

Wednesday, December 07, 2005

What Christmas Is Really About

Want to know the real meaning of Christmas? Forget shopping for presents. "Children Sleeping Under Bridges," a new hymn from Canadian composer Ronald Brown, tells the true story:

Children sleeping under bridges
MMdark December rain
Woman begging at the curbside
MMcoughing deep in pain.
Hopeless, fearing, desperate, daring
MMheadlights shining through the darkness:
They hear a baby cry.
Baby in the chafing straw
MMcrying just for them;
Wrapped in rags, he knows their pain
MMcrying just for them.

Young girl standing under streetlight
MMwaiting for a ride.
Suffocating in a fever,
MMnever had much pride.
Bruised, abandoned, no one caring;
MMshe cries her father's name:
And hears a baby cry.
Baby in the darkest night
MMcrying just for her;
Baby takes her pain and calls her
MMcalling only her.

Old man, cardboard house collapsing,
MMthis his only home;
Gasps and struggles, snow encrusted,
MMdying all alone.
Searching, needing, defeated, groping
MMcurses his life and all he's known:
He hears a baby cry.
Baby in a cold dark cave
MMcrying just for him;
Brought into this world to die
MMcrying just for him.

Rich man inside glass and steel,
MMsees the scene below.
There are barriers, layers, shadows
MMhe has never known.
Emptiness is his only guidance;
MMhe lives inside a void:
Yet hears a baby cry.
Baby calling out his name
MMthrough all time and space;
MMreaching for him, reaching for us,
MMcalling you and me.

Words and music © 2005 by Ronald J. Brown. Reprinted here with permission of the composer.


Anonymous said...

Thank you for posting this, Katharine. I am delighted you chose to share it with your readers.
In writing it, I wanted to capture something of the original Christmas story: of the Christ being born in a barn and being recognized and worshiped by the poorest of the poor (the shepherds). Every time I drive through a city slum I can't help but feel that that is where Christ would be walking today.
Thanks again.
Ron (composer and lyricist)

Katharine O'Moore-Klopf said...

You're very welcome, Ron, and thank you! The amazing lyrics remind me very much of the wonderful Christmas Eve sermons that the former pastor of my church preached.

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