There is time travel in this song. There is time travel between the story of David being anointed by Samuel and the shepherds going to see the new born baby Jesus. Now, I want to make it clear that I am not trying to ignore the biblical accounts of each story nor am I trying to re-write the two stories because I like my way better.
As I sat down to write this song, I was talking it through with my good friend Matt Graham. As we looked over the biblical accounts we started to see some striking parallels between 1 Sam 16 and Luke 2. Obviously, there is a strong biblical connection between David and Jesus, but it is a parallel often times forgotten when looking at the Nativity account. So after thinking about it more, Matt made the suggestion of involving time travel, and the rest of the song was written.
There are a few points I want to make about understanding this song properly.
1. The main purpose of this song is to make a theological point that Christ’s birth theologically precedes the anointing of David and that David’s reign was meant to support and serve the reign of Christ.
2. The story of the shepherd boy in verse 1 and verse 2 is supposed to be read and understood realistically and then re-read symbolically after verse 3 and 4.
3. The broken staff the shepherd boy presents to Jesus is supposed to not only represent the brokenness of our own hearts, but also the broken kingdom that springs out of David’s lineage.
4. The end of verse 4 is supposed to remind us that the whole story, as do all stories point to the saving blood of the Christ.
Ultimately, I want to challenge you with this song to not only think of the nativity story historically, but to also think of it theologically. I’ve put the lyrics to the song below. If you have any suggestions complaints or questions, I would love to talk about them with you.
I am a poor, shepherd boy
I live alone in this here field
I have no friends, I have no toys
This broken staff’s my sword and shield
They came one night when I’s asleep
The sky filled up with light and sound
I stood up scared, but not afraid
Then fell face first onto the ground
They said, “Son, please don’t cry
It’s for Good News that we have come
For today you are a slave
But tonight you’ll be a son
To find a baby in a lonely manger
Shining like a star in this dark place
This child came to be my brother
To give the poor a hope, a friend, a face
I had no gift, I ran for miles
To find a town that shared my name
I looked for hours and found a cave
Filled with the poor, the weak, the lame
And I said, “Sir, I came to see
The baby born to set man free
I don’t have much to pay him for
The gift he gave to you and me
But I did run….
To find this baby wrapped up in a manger
This broken staff’s all I can give
I know you’ll use this to bring us to your pasture
To shepherd us as long as we might live
The prophet came to Jesse’s home
He looked in vain at seven sons
The town was scared, and so afraid
To learn the prophet had to come
And he said, “Man, there must be more
Maybe a son out in the field
And they said, “Sure, the shepherd boy,
But he’s too weak to hold a shield
But he said, “Run…
To find this shepherd, thought to be a stranger
Chosen as a star in Israel’s sky
Our Father wants to save His kingdom
Through the ruddy boy with pretty eyes
When I came back, my father called
To meet a man who came from God
I shook his hand, he touched my brow
And killed a calf with saving blood