December 22, 2022

Christmas and Advent Hymns and their Story

“Gentle Mary Laid her Child”

In 1919, The Christian Guardian, a Methodist Newspaper published in Toronto, Canada, sponsored a contest for a new Christmas carol. First prize went to Joseph S. Cook [1859-1933], who won 35 Canadien collars for this hymn, originally called “Gentle Mary Wrapped her Child.”
Verse 1 depicts Mary wrapping her newborn child and paying Him in a manger. This is no ordinary child, though, but the very Son of God [Philippians 2:5-8], and He who was “born in the likeness of men”, is also the holy, innocent One who knew no stain of sin; 2nd Corinthians 5:21 – “For our sake he made him to be sin who knew no sin, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God.” Verse two adds the beloved account of the shepherds and the angels [Luke 2:8-20] and the star followed by the Maji [Matthew 2:1-11]. The 3rd and final verse begins as does the first, serving to highlight the Good News that the Babe, God, is “no more a stranger”, but the savior come to reveal Himself, to deliver the world from the curse of sin, and to open the kingdom of heaven to all believers.

Gentle Mary laid her child lowly in a manger;
There He lay, the Undefiled, to the world a stranger.
Such a babe in such a place, can He be the Savior?
Ask the saved of all the race who have found His favor.

LSB 374

One Comment