Graham Kendrick: Why Christmas Begins with a Child

Christmas is a remarkable time. A time for family and the laughter of children. But we at Compassion believe it's also a time for Jesus. The birth of the Messiah who saves!

The foretold Messiah: A devotion by singer-song writer, Graham Kendrick 

The prophet Isaiah had the most unpopular job imaginable – to call a rebellious nation back to the ways of God, warning them of dire consequences if they didn’t return. Worse still, God told him they wouldn’t even listen to him.  

Yet, on the back of the ominous wave of warnings he delivered, there suddenly rides a shining hope of rescue, the promise of a day when a great light would burst upon people living in darkness.  

How would this rescue plan begin? It would begin with a child:  

“For to us a child is born, to us a son is given; and the government shall be upon his shoulder, and his name shall be called Wonderful Counsellor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace”.  

Fidel from Bolivia is holding a small nativity scene in his hands.


God’s way 

These words are read in Christmas services across the world year by year, but their familiarity can mask how extraordinary God’s ways are.  

We put our hope in the strongest. God chooses the weakest. We favour the greatest with the biggest resources. God chooses the least with the emptiest pockets.  

In fact, and this is the stunning truth at the heart of the Christmas story, God chooses to be that weak and vulnerable child, to become one of us, to experience all the mess and squalor of a broken world in order to rescue it from the inside.  

A baby sleeping soundly in Halmahera, East Indonesia.

God’s wonder in song 

Some years ago I tried to express some of the wonder of this in a song: 

A world awakes all unaware 
Of what the night did bring 
A mother’s pain a baby’s cry 
New life begins 
While Bethlehem slumbers 
In shadows so dark and deep 
Sweetly sleep 

What child is this in manger laid 
That dazzled shepherds seek? 
Whom heaven adores yet earth ignores 
Helpless and weak 
Most ancient of mysteries 
Stirs in the chill of these streets 
Sweetly sleep 

O world awake! 
Shake off the night 
A greater dawn is breaking 
A brighter Sun 
Heaven’s pure light 
To set the world on fire 
God in flesh appearing 
Heaven and earth are touching here 
Receive him now 
As you would welcome 
A new-born child 

From A World Awakes by Graham Kendrick 
Copyright © 2007 Make Way Music 

Graham Kendrick singing at the Carols with Compassion concert

God has not ceased to choose the foolish things of the world to shame the wise, or the weak, lowly and despised things of the world to shame the strong and the proud. It is happening right now, hidden away in the disregarded Bethlehem’s and Nazareth’s of our day. 

Thank you from Graham Kendrick 

Thank you for sponsoring a child through Compassion. It continues to be a beautiful way in which God’s love reaches out through us to make new beginnings for families who are walking in the darkness of poverty.  

Years ago, I remember hearing the then President of Compassion International Wess Stafford speak of how he dreamed that one day a former sponsored child would rise to become prime minister of their nation. I would not be surprised if that happens. Something has begun in the lives of these precious children and their families and eternity alone will reveal where it will end! 

Meanwhile, our hope for the future is in the promise that ‘the government will be upon his shoulder’, that the hidden kingdom that began with a baby’s cry in the back streets of a village in Judaea will finally be revealed. Every tear will be wiped away. All things made new. 

A Kenyan Nativity

Enjoy a re-enactment of the nativity story by children supported by Compassion in Kenya. We hope it blesses your heart.

Graham Kendrick Graham Kendrick

Words by Graham Kendrick Graham Kendrick


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Compassion UK Christian Child Development, registered charity in England and Wales (1077216) and Scotland (SC045059). A company limited by guarantee, Registered in England and Wales company number 03719092. Registered address: Compassion House, Barley Way, Fleet, Hampshire, GU51 2UT.