Song 089 is referenced by Song 052 – Rush Lake Blues, and provided the music for Psalm 40. This is one of my favorite songs. I sing it for as many people as I can find interested each year at Christmas. Why? Not because of the origins, rather because of the message. I learned things, as I wrote this song, on Christmas Day, 1972, just after getting home from my LDS mission to Southeast England. I knew England was a long way, and Bethlehem is even farther away. One of my favorite Christmas song has always been Far, Far Away (probably because it was written by Grandma Hafen’s adopted mother’s Father, John Menzies Mcfarlane). There is a land far away. The chorus plays with Einstein’s space-time continuum: referring to where Christ was born as a place, as a time, and as the intersection of these two indices, a point. There was no room in the inn, which was owned by Joseph and Mary’s kin. They were returning to their ancestral home to pay taxes, and, surely, they stayed with family. The swaddling clothes were the royal garment of David, the ancestor of Christ. He was full of light and truth and grace. As I get older and recognize how much I sin, even without intending to. It has become even more important to know my Savior and know my sins will be forgiven if I have faith and repent. I had been home from England almost 2 months. My Mission President was being disfellowshipped. I had been promised Mom and Dad would be active in the church if I served a good mission. The fact they were not interested in the church seemed to imply I must not have served a good mission. Mom made Christmas a very secular event, with extensive cooking and parties and presents. There was no room for Jesus Christ. I left home on Christmas Eve, drove to Enterprise, hiked through the snow into Calf Springs Ranch with my guitar and a book called Jesus in His Homeland, which President Belnap had given us, cooked myself dinner, cried, tried to reconcile the discrepancies in my life, and wrote The Birth. Some of the insights were from the book, and some were what I feel was personal revelation. The song stilled my concerns, I came home on Christmas Day, and as I recall it was a good day. I do not think I ever sang the song to Mom and Dad.
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