Ever and Always

Long years ago, on a deep winter night.
High in the heavens, a star shone bright.
While in the manger, a wee baby lay.
Sweetly asleep, on a bed of hay.

Jesus our lord, was that baby so small.
Lay down to sleep, in a humble stall.
Then came the star, and it stood over head.
Shedding its light, ’round his little head.

Dear baby Jesus, how tiny thou art.
I’ll make a place, for thee in my heart.
And when the stars, in the heavens I see.
Ever and always, I’d think of thee…
~Alfred Burt “The Star Carol”

    When our oldest children were small we always had some music playing. We chose the records carefully as  we wanted the children to develop an ear for good, sound and suitable music. There was classical, semi classical, hymns and popular songs with suitable lyrics. When the Christmas season came the Messiah was played at least once a week along with other favorite recordings.
     I was in the local music store when the owner was putting out his display of Christmas records. I looked them over and found a recording of Alfred Burt’s carols. My wife and I had recently heard on the radio, “The Star Carol,” by Burt, and we enjoyed the new carol so I purchased the record and went home and played it for my children, “Play it again Dad,” and so I did.  It was the record of the season that year.
     Every year it was the first record out of the box, after the Messiah. When the girls went off to college at Christmas time they called and asked me to tape Burt’s record for them. It has a special place in in their Christmas music tradition. I still have a tape and played it this morning.
     I enjoy the carol because in a very poignant way it tells the amazing story of Christmas that God’s own son humbled himself and became a baby like all other babies, yet sinless. That was one of the reasons my children loved the carol because Jesus became a little child like they were.
  Alfred Burt was a fine musician who wrote the music for his father’s poems he wrote on his Christmas cards. When his father died Burt and his wife kept up the tradition until his death at the young age of 35.  Burt’s carols have a special place in our family’s Christmas music tradition. Sing the song with a sense of awe and wonder, God’s son a baby in a humble stall, amazing grace.
~Pastor Jack  Matheis




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