This is a narrative song about Christ’s birth, life, death, resurrection and impending return. People often find ‘story songs’ easy to understand and relate to, and this one in particular focuses on Hi s humanity, His compassion, His empathy, His own betrayal and suffering, yet his determination to win through for the sake of the human race.
The song starts with the Christmas story – probably the most familiar of the Christian narratives in our culture. Yet its retelling often becomes so softened and sanitised (often, ironically, by the carols we sing) that its true significance is greatly reduced.
In the first verse of this song I wanted to recapture some of the shocking reality of the birth of the Song on God – the scandal of an unmarried mother giving birth in a squalid, cold stable – and that God should choose for Himself such a humble path.
The final verse, about Jesus’ return, is in some ways uncomfortable, but it is a necessary part of our understanding of ‘the end of the story’, and the vital importance of receiving God’s saving grace in Christ.
From the squalor of a borrowed stable,
By the Spirit and a virgin's faith;
To the anguish and the shame of scandal
Came the Saviour of the human race.
But the skies were filled with the praise of heaven,
Shepherds listen as the angels tell
Of the Gift of God come down to man
At the dawning of Immanuel.
King of heaven now the Friend of sinners,
Humble servant in the Father's hands,
Filled with power and the Holy Spirit,
Filled with mercy for the broken man.
Yes, He walked my road and He felt my pain,
Joys and sorrows that I know so well;
Yet His righteous steps give me hope again -
I will follow my Immanuel.
Through the kisses of a friend's betrayal,
He was lifted on a cruel cross;
He was punished for a world's transgressions,
He was suffering to save the lost.
He fights for breath, He fights for me,
Loosing sinners from the claims of hell;
And with a shout our souls are free -
Death defeated by Immanuel.
Now He's standing in the place of honour,
Crowned with glory on the highest throne,
Interceding for His own beloved
Till His Father calls to bring them home!
Then the skies will part as the trumpet sounds
Hope of heaven or the fear of hell;
But the Bride will run to her Lover's arms,
Giving glory to Immanuel!