There’s a Welcome in the Wooden

Photo by Árni Svanur Daníelsson on Unsplash

I wrote this Christmas Carol text 18 years ago. It’s not sung nearly often enough. Let’s face it, Christmas is a short, crowded season of old time favorites. But, seriously, we DO need carols that actually introduce the Jesus who lived, not simply the babe who laid in a manger. So have a listen. In these words set to a familiar carol tune I hint at the way Jesus’ birth foreshadows the welcome that will mark his ministry and suggest the irony of his manger-birth by linking it to the meal by which we remember his death.

HAVE A LISTEN. (When you click the link, the audio clip will open in a new tab and you can simply click back over to this tab to follow the lyrics.)
With gratitude to Sara Kay for the beautiful rendition.

There’s a Welcome in the Wooden (the manger)

There’s a welcome in the wooden out back of the inn,
A sweetness in swaddles like new-sewn wineskin,
And poorly strewn straw hints at ripe wheat rolled thin.
There’s a welcome in the wooden out back of the inn.

See Mary, wrapped in wonder, this baby to bear,
The fruit of her womb with the world now to share.
And Joseph in shadows with fatherly care
Soon making their ready to flee Herod’s snare.  

Here shepherds, oft outcast, an unlikely sight,
Now guests of this prince by angelic invite.
And sand dunes sing silently deep in the night
As Magi move westward wooed on by starlight.

Here cattle and donkey, here sheep and goats, too,
Are beckoned as creatures, this child to view;
And angels in glory now offer their due.
This wooden speaks a welcome both wondrous and true.

Consider, with me, friends, this daring design:
A manger, made for feeding, a most hungry sign—
Already this infant, holds wheat and holds wine.
There’s a welcome in the wooden that all come and dine.

And outside of the stable, those not yet called in,
Now come to the manger wherever you’ve been,
And hear, as the wooden will call you, too, kin.
There’s a welcome in the wooden out back of the inn.

Text: David Weiss, b. 1959, Christmas 2004
Tune: Appalachian folk tune, adapted by John Jacob Niles, 1892-1980, © G. Schirmer, Inc., admin. Harry Fox Agency, Inc. – (I WONDER)

Permission is given to photocopy There’s a Welcome in the Wooden for use in worship.

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