Once in Royal David’s City

“Once in Royal David’s City”

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For He is our childhood’s pattern;
Day by day on earth He grew;
He was tempted, scorned, rejected,
Tears and smiles like us He knew.
Thus He feels for all our sadness,
And He shares in all our gladness.
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“You don’t know how I feel!” “Nobody remembers what it feels like to be my age!” “You have no idea what I’m going through!” Now, whether you are a child or a teen, a young adult just starting out on your own or an elder dealing with the autumn of life, chances are you have felt (if not voiced) these very sentiments. I know I have. There is no emotion so isolating as what this hymn refers to as ‘sadness’; the feeling that others don’t know what you are experiencing is one that builds walls between people, making it even more unlikely that anyone will connect with you. Here’s the thing, though. God knows. Jesus has been there.

The miracle of the incarnation, ‘becoming flesh’, is that part of becoming flesh means being human — with the aches and pains, the tears and fears, the insecurities and lonelinesses. To shrug off God-ness for a time, Jesus took on skin, and everything that fit inside it — the jumbled mass of feelings and aspirations that make us real. For this, Jesus walked out of heaven and into Bethlehem.

Our pattern, our goal, in humanity, incarnate. The Christ Child.

Leigh Anne Armstrong

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