On the telly a moment ago I heard a snatch of “Bippety Boppety Boo” from Disney’s “Cinderella”and it reminded me that this was the first song I ever heard from the lips of Raymond, my autistic son of my first marriage. I also in recent days have, it being the season for it, heard and also participated in the singing of “Away in a manger” which I remember learning as a little boy and is the first song I can remember singing. I had a lot of questions about the meaning of the song, as I remember and both parents and my dear old great old grandma helped me piece together the meanings of the verses. I didn’t understand about “the cattle are lowing” but then again I think this is the only context one hears about cattle “lowing”in the English language these days. I think I accepted on face value the unusual syntax “no crying he makes”.
The carol is an interesting one as we are asking Jesus to “fit us for heaven” when in fact he has already done all so that someone who believes in Him has His righteousness attributed to him and God sees Jesus’perfection from that moment on, when looking at us, and not the foul stains of all our own sins. Jesus of course also works on our characters through the Holy Spirit, making us more conformable to his image and some steps closer to what we expect to be made in Heaven, but in fact our fitness is not the issue. God looks at us and either he sees Jesus there on the thrones of our heart or He doesn’t. The question of whether we go to heaven or not is a light switch and not a dimmer switch, either we are in Christ or we are not.
Nevertheless, discipleship, which is likely to be linked to a degree of reward in the coming kingdom is indeed a dimmer switch and not a light switch, in that we can have a greater or lower level of heavenly reward, but even a lowly estate in Heaven if infinitely to be preferred over having a wasted soul, eternally conscious of its lost opportunity, burning without being ever consumed, weeping, wailing and gnashing teeth long after mortal teeth would have worn away. But this dimmer switch only even become relevant if a person is saved in the first place, which means one needs to put ones trust in Jesus. Only He can give the faith and repentance necessary to be in Him, and included in heaven, fitted for heaven by Christ’s own righteousness ascribed to him or her.
We would like to be in an eternal paradise in communion with the Holy One of Israel, the God who made us, the Gd who sees us now and guides us, and the One from whom all our blessings flow. May we not be lost but when we stand before the judgement seat of God may all our hope be founded only in the righteousness of Him who died in our stead on Calvary.
This is my song, the Lord’s song. “The LORD has been my strength and my song and He is become my salvation. “(Psalm 118 v 14)
If you can remember or know from being told what you first song was as a child, please let us know in the comments.
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