“A New Father, Awe-struck” is a timely, new hymn by Carolyn Winfrey Gillette, who has published over 300 hymns sung by congregations around the world. This Christmastide hymn begins with a traditional manger scene but then portrays the Holy Family that became poor, powerless refugees escaping certain death. It is a prayer for the church to work for justice and mercy as our gift to Jesus. Permission is given for free use of this hymn by churches that support refugee relief efforts.
This hymn would be appropriate for use on Christmas Eve, Christmas Sunday and New Year’s Day. (The First Sunday after Christmas’ lectionary Gospel reading tells of Jesus and his family being refugees fleeing Herod).
MUELLER 188.8.131.52 (“Away in a Manger”)
A new father, awe-struck; a mother so mild;
A stable; a manger; a dear, newborn child—
God, as we imagine that family so blessed,
We sometimes forget they were poor and oppressed.
A woman—considered to have no real worth—
Said, yes! She would bear your own Son here on earth.
We hear her bold singing! Her faithful words soar:
“God humbles the rich and God lifts up the poor.”
As Joseph and Mary began a new home,
They suffered oppression from rulers in Rome.
Then, fleeing from Herod to save their son’s life,
They looked for a land free from violence and strife.
We hear in our own day the cries of the poor;
We see in Aleppo the terror of war.
In women and children and men who must flee,
We glimpse, Lord, your life as a young refugee.
When some say that only the wealthy have worth,
O God, we recall where you lived here on earth.
May we in your church serve the poor and distressed;
For, working for justice, we give you our best.