♫ Advent Carol: “Jesus, Our Brother, Strong and Good”

Monday, December 2

12-2By Lauren Hall of Kansas City, Missouri, USA

And she gave birth to her firstborn son and wrapped him in bands of cloth, and laid him in a manger, because there was no place for them in the inn.

—Luke 2:7

Also called The Friendly Beasts, this old 12th century French carol was most special to me as a child. It filled my mind with wonder and the sounds and smells of the nativity story. It drew me intimately close to that small community of creatures that story tells were a part of our Savior’s birth.

More than any other song, it shaped my early understanding of the sacredness of all creation. When I read or sing this carol now, it continues to have a special hold on me, as it captures in such a humble way, our understanding of generosity and the giftedness of each individual. Certainly, my inner child is happy that this “children’s” hymn may be included in the next hymnal collection.

Jesus, our brother, strong and good, was humbly born in a stable rude,
and the friendly beasts around him stood, Jesus our brother, strong and good.

“I,” said the donkey, shaggy and brown, “I carried his mother uphill and down,
I carried his mother to Bethlehem town; I,” said the donkey, shaggy and brown.

“I,” said the cow, all white and red, “I gave him my manger for his bed,
I gave him hay to pillow his head; I,” said the cow, all white and red.

“I,” said the sheep with curly horn, “I gave him my wool for his blanket warm,
he wore my coat on Christmas morn; I,” said the sheep with curly horn.

“I,” said the dove, from the rafters high, “I cooed him to sleep that he should not cry,
we cooed him to sleep, my mate and I; I,” said the dove, from the rafters high.

Thus all the beasts, by some good spell, in the stable dark were glad to tell
of the gifts they gave Emmanuel, the gifts they gave Emmanuel.

Prayer for Peace
As we prepare to celebrate the birth of your son, God, we ready our humble gifts. May they be used to carry, to pillow, to warm, and to sooth those in need. As we share our gifts with Emmanuel, may we share his peace with the world.

Spiritual Practice
Contemplate this hymn as a poem. Share it with a child. Use it as a children’s pageant in a worship service this Advent season.

Peace Covenant
Today, God I will sing a song of joy as I prepare to receive the Prince of Peace.

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