Wednesday, January 3, 2018
"Where meek souls will receive him, still the dear Christ enters in."
Carol: “O Little Town of Bethlehem” – Phillips Brooks (1835-1893)
Tune: ST. LOUIS
Before we get into the Epiphany season, while we’re still in Christmastide, I want to hit a couple of significant carolines – and this one qualifies:
“No ear may hear his coming, but in this world of sin,
Where meek souls will receive him, still the dear Christ enters in.”
As mentioned before in one of my hymnlines on the first half of this stanza (“How silently… the wondrous gift is given”), this line follows that thinking. The word meek is so often categorized with “weak,” and that’s not a good thing. The first synonym for meek is humble – then submissive and compliant. All three of those fit better into our understanding of the biblical concept (and this carol’s meaning) of those meek souls who stand ready to receive the Christ Child: humbly, in submission, open to being shaped or molded.
The word that always jumps out at me in this hymnline is the word “still.” Even now, over 2,000 years later, the dear Christ is standing by, reading to make his entrance into the lives of the meek souls. About thirty years after the manger event, the grown-up Jesus said, “Blessed are the meek for they shall inherit the earth.” (Matthew 5:5) People of gentleness and kindness seem to have a special place in the mind and heart of God, and he is STILL being welcomed and received by folk of that ilk.
He still comes to us. Be still to receive him.
[Everybody skips this stanza, it seems… in worship and on recordings. I couldn’t find another good recording online to post. I guess you’ll have to sing it to yourself!]