In 2006, Brad Paisley released an excellent Christmas album. No really, it’s excellent. One of the pieces which I enjoyed the most was “Born on Christmas Day.” Originally written by Paisley when he was 13, the song actually begins hearing the 13 year old Paisley sing, followed by Paisley as an adult, then him harmonizing with his 13 year old self to close it out. It’s a great song to listen to. But, is it Biblical? Let’s discuss the lyrics as written by Paisley, which can be reviewed here.
13 year old Paisley begins the song off by singing, “It was a cold and dark December night / But a star still lit the sky / Away in a manger you heard a baby cry / It was the cry of the Son of God / A little baby boy / Born in that manger to bring the world joy.” Paisley is painting a picture with his words, describing in his own words the scene Luke described in his Gospel (Luke 2:4-7). A baby boy wrapped in swaddling cloth, lying in a manger. This baby boy was the Son of God. Yea, not bad so far.
Paisley continues with the chorus, “So hush up little baby / You know not what you’ll do / You’ll bring the world peace and love / And teach them while you do / You have nothing to fear because you know / God is with you all the way / That little important baby / Born on Christmas day.” Now, here’s the question that’s filled with unknowns – what do we know about Jesus’ childhood and human form as an infant? Answer – not much. What do I mean by that? Did He fully understand as a new born that He was the second Person in the Godhead? Did He understand His divinity as an infant or did He choose to allow Himself to be a full baby with all the same human weaknesses? He allowed Himself to be an adult human with the physical weaknesses, would He have done the same as an infant? This brings us back to the line, “You know not what you’ll do.” Well, we don’t know if that’s true. In a literal sense, He always knows what He’s going to do as Christ is, was, and ever shall be (John 1:1-3, Revelation 22:13). While Christ was fully human, He was also fully God. So, He in a way both knew what He’d do and did not. It’s confusing, but helps to provide us with a picture of our limitations in understanding fully the nature of the divine.
What of the rest of the verse? Christ does teach people to love, teach peace, and provides peace of the heart. He had nothing to fear, for God was leading the entire process. He knew the outcome even as He walked to the cross. God knew everything as it was going to play out in Christ’s life. He planned it that way and it had to happen that way for our salvation to be realized. So, He had nothing to fear on that first Christmas day. The Lord was and always will be in charge.
Paisley continues, “Many people soon gathered round that tiny run down barn / They knew not of what they saw / Then came three all dressed in fancy robes, silks and furs / This was the first indication of the importance of his birth.” The first indication of the importance of Christ’s birth would have been the star above where He lay (Matthew 2:1-2). Then would be the angelic hosts who heralded Him in by reaching out to shepherds (Luke 2:8-14). Then the shepherds coming to worship Jesus (Luke 2:15-20). Then…there were Wise Men, of an unknown number, who showed up about 2 years later (Matthew 2:9-11). How do we know it was about 2 years later? Herod has them kill children aged 2 and under based on when the Wise Men first saw the star (Matthew 2:16). Those were indications after the child was born. But, there were all the indications before He was born such as the angel approaching Mary, John the Baptist leaping in His mother’s womb, Mary being pregnant despite being a virgin. You know, those important details to the story of Christ. That said – let us remember, this is a nativity song written by a child.
Despite Brad Paisley the adult singing the second verse, this entire song was written by 13 year old Brad Paisley. It’s simplistic at times. It’s off in the narrative of the story of the nativity, but it comes from a heart with a genuine love of Christ. It comes from a heart with a genuine love of Christmas. It comes from a heart which is seeking Him and wants to talk about Him. I can deal with these inconsistencies to continue to support people who are openly willing to proclaim Christ.
Before the last repeat of the chorus, Paisley sings, “We expected a soldier to save us from our plight / All dressed in shiny armor, ready for a fight / But instead he sent a little baby boy / All filled with love happiness / To bring the world joy.” There were those in the days of Jesus who were expecting a military Messiah who would fight off and defeat the Romans. Instead, they received the suffering servant as described by Isaiah (Isaiah 53). But, here is something we need to remember – Battle Jesus is coming (Revelation 19:11-21). When Jesus comes again, the military soldier Jesus who will destroy the enemy will be coming. The one who rules on high on Earth, will be coming. He will come and wipe away every tear and repair every bit of brokenness in the world. That Jesus is coming. But, until that great and terrifying day comes, we have the suffering servant Jesus who came to us as a baby wrapped in swaddling cloth and laid down in the feeding trough of animals. He came into the world lowly. He will rule the world on high one day, exalted.