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The First Congregational Church, Columbus Ohio
Christmas Eve, December 24, 2007, 7:30 p.m.
A sermon delivered by The Rev. Timothy Ahrens

Dedicated to the Youth in the Christmas Pageant and to all our youth through generations who have performed in this classic event and always to the glory of God!
Wrapped and Laid Down
Luke 2:1-20

Several weeks ago, while teaching my Monday Night Bible Study class on the Gospel of Luke, we came to the 23rd chapter, Luke’s passion narratives. As we read Luke’s story of Jesus taken down from the cross and laid in the family tomb of Joseph of Arimathea, we became aware that the words Luke chooses in Luke 2 to describe his birth, his wrapping in swaddling cloths, his being laid in the manger are the same words and cadence found at the time of his crucifixion and death. Taken, wrapped, and laid down . . . Tonight I have written a poem entitled: “Wrapped and Laid Down.”

As we celebrate Jesus’ birth in Bethlehem, we should remember that the hills on which the shepherds tended their flocks overlook the hill of Calvary on which the Great Shepherd of Humanity died on a cross. Although miles apart, on a clear, starlit night, the place of Jesus’ birth and death are illumined by the same light. The manger and the cross. Bethlehem and Jerusalem. The baby and our Savior.

Let us pray: May the words of my mouth and the meditations of each one of our hearts be acceptable in your sight, O Lord, our rock and our salvation. Amen.

Wrapped and Laid Down
by Timothy C. Ahrens

O baby boy, born of Mary

full of life and hope this night,

Wrapped in swaddling cloths

laid low, embodiment of God’s pure light.

 

Laid in a manger, cattle near,

call your name for all to hear.

Starlight shines on fields and hills

for Bethlehem’s boy whom Jerusalem kills.

 

How shall we call you? What shall we say,

Our child of promise born this Day?

While Shepherds smile and wise men kneel,

angels sing of God’s great zeal.

 

Come to us now, wrapped, laid down,

Come and shine, our King with no crown.

Come Immanuel, God with us - now,

World Changer to whom we kneel and bow.

 

Your eyes are shining this night of birth,

As you bring love and peace to earth.

Upon the hills the light streams down,

We make our way to Bethlehem town.

 

This is a hard time for a child to be born

in Bethlehem’s hills, amidst the scorn

Still you risk God’s love made known,

You come to make this earth your home.

 

When will we find a place for you,

This earth where your sisters and brothers stew,

and fight and bicker and tear your heart,

When will we give your love a fresh start?

 

Years from now, on a hill within sight,

You will suffer your life, but not tonight.

You will be taken, wrapped, laid down for us,

In pure Love your life, our lives will bless.

 

O baby boy of Bethlehem,

full of life and hope this night,

Wrapped in linen cloths

laid low, embodiment of God’s pure light.

We see you, feel you, hold you tight,

O Son of God, O Child of Delight.

 

Copyright 2007, The First Congregational Church