On Christmas Eve 1932, Robert McGimsey attended a midnight church service in New York City and then headed back to his one-room apartment. As he walked the final blocks, he passed the open doors of private clubs where people were shouting and swearing and singing. Others were so drunk they had passed out on the sidewalk.
What a strange way to celebrate the birth of the most perfect Person who ever lived on this earth, McGimsey thought. We seem to have missed the whole significance of His life.
That night McGimsey wrote his thoughts on the back of an envelope. These words, which were written like the spirituals he had loved growing up in the southern United States, flowed out of his heart:
Sweet little Jesus Boy,
They made You be born in a manger.
Sweet little Holy Child, didn’t know who You was.
Didn’t know You’d come to save us, Lord,
To take our sins away.
Our eyes was blind, we couldn’t see,
We didn’t know who You was.
The song offers an apology to the Christ-child for not recognizing Him when He came to this earth. But every year gives us an opportunity to look again at Jesus’ birth with new eyes of understanding and acceptance.
Will we recognize and honor Him as our Lord and King this Christmas?
The hinge of history is found on the door of a Bethlehem stable.