Tuesday, December 21, 2010

The Rebel Jesus

The Bishop of the State of Minnesota introduced me to this song recently. I love Christmas songs, not the ones that were written 200 years ago and now sung by country singers, but ones that capture what Christmas feels like if you are walking down 5th Avenue in New York or in a cabin in Montana contemplating the insanity of another year and feeling thankful for what you have at the same time.

Jackson Browne draws you in with this song, then hits you with the thought of what would happen if all of us really started giving in the way the Christmas story points us. Here are the words:

All the streets are filled with laughter and light
And the music of the season
And the merchants' windows are all bright
With the faces of the children
And the families hurrying to their homes
While the sky darkens and freezes
Will be gathering around the hearths and tables
Giving thanks for God's graces
And the birth of the rebel Jesus

Well they call him by 'the Prince of Peace'
And they call him by 'the Savior'
And they pray to him upon the seas
And in every bold endeavor
And they fill his churches with their pride and gold
As their faith in him increases
But they've turned the nature that I worship in
From a temple to a robber's den
In the words of the rebel Jesus

Well we guard our world with locks and guns
And we guard our fine possessions
And once a year when Christmas comes
We give to our relations
And perhaps we give a little to the poor
If the generosity should seize us
But if any one of us should interfere
In the business of why there are poor
They get the same as the rebel Jesus

Now pardon me if I have seemed
To take the tone of judgment
For I've no wish to come between
This day and your enjoyment
In a life of hardship and of earthly toil
There's a need for anything that frees us
So I bid you pleasure
And I bid you cheer
From a heathen and a pagan
On the side of the rebel Jesus

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