December 16, 2010


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While I'm Thinking About It

Number Four: Do You Hear What I Hear?

Like "The Little Drummer Boy," this one takes the Readers' Digest Condensed version of the Nativity and runs with it, reaching a destination about 180 degrees away from the Biblical accounts.

In the Bible, an angel tells the shepherds about Jesus' birth. In the song, the shepherd boy hears about it from a little lamb, who heard about it from the night wind, which saw the star. I suppose the point is that God entering his creation as a human was such a pivotal moment that all of reality had to stand up and take notice.

The problem is the path the song takes, from least important to most important. Weather, to the animal kingdom, to a shepherd, to a king. Herod is the first king to be told of what has transpired--the wise men tell him. While he makes a show to them of wanting to join in the worship, his public reaction is something other than "Let us bring him silver and gold." If the song were being historically accurate, the last verse would go something like this:

Said the king to the people everywhere
"Listen to what I say; Pray for peace people everywhere, Listen to what I say: A child, a child, shivers in the cold; He must be put to death, and every other boy his age just to be on the safe side."

See, Herod, the Jewish king serving at the pleasure of Rome, wasn't too terribly thrilled with the notion of a new King being born. Think I'm exaggerating for humor? Not so much, this time.

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