Love Came Down at Christmas
Love came down at Christmas,
Love all lovely, love divine;
Love was born at Christmas,
Star and angels gave the sign.
Worship we the Godhead, Love incarnate, love divine;
Worship we our Jesus: But wherewith for sacred sign?
Love shall be our token, Love shall be yours and love be mine,
Love to God and to all men, Love for plea and gift and sign.
“Love Came Down at Christmas,” hymn #242 in the United Methodist Hymnal, was written in 1885 by Christina Rossetti. Known for her religious poetry and devotions, she came from a literary and artistic family who lived in political exile in England. She had very poor health and found deep solace from her faith in writing. The beautiful woman also served as a model, quite often as portraits for the Madonna, for her family and friends within the pre-Raphaelite period of art.
Love Came Down is a poem based on I John 4:7-11 and in a passage that mentions love 11 times, Christina mentions love 12 times in three short stanzas.
I John 4:7-11: “Beloved, let us love one another: for love is of God; and every one that loves is born of God, and knows God. He that loves not, knows not God; for God is love. In this was manifested the love of God toward us, because God sent his only begotten Son into the world, that we might live through him. Herein is love, not that we loved God, but that he loved us, and sent his Son to be the propitiation for our sins. Beloved, if God so loved us, we ought also to love one another.”
The simplicity of the poem is found in one- and two-syllable words with the exception of one: incarnate. The clarity of the words express a lack of affectation and ease of being. The popular song invites people to presence and the pure nature of the Christmas season. Take time to reflect the simple story of God entering our world as Love.
Her poem was turned into a hymn in the Oxford Hymn Book 1908. In the Bleak Mid-Winter is another popular song she wrote.Rev. Andrea Andress
Jars of Clay offers this modern take on the old hymn, complete with drawings by children whose imaginations make us smile. Let this music video be your prayer: