NRT contributor Kevin Davis speaks with Downhere's Marc Martel about their original Christmas song, "How Many Kings."
"How Many Kings" by Downhere is one of the best original Christmas songs I’ve ever heard. It was originally released on last year’s Bethlehem Skyline from Centricity Records and it is also included on my top rated album this year Ending Is Beginning.
It is a very powerful Christmas song that really challenges you to think about the sacrifice that our King Jesus made on our behalf. Truly, no other king in the history of the world besides Jesus humbled themselves to come off their throne to become one of their own and become the least...for me. For that, I am eternally grateful.
You can read that part of the Christmas story in John 6:42:
They said, "Is this not Jesus, the son of Joseph, whose father and mother we know? How can he now say, 'I came down from heaven'?"
I had the great privilege to speak with Marc Martel, one of the lead singers of Downhere and writer of this song regarding his inspiration and story relative to writing "How Many Kings." Here’s what Marc told me.
“When my record label approached our band about writing original Christmas songs, I set out to write a song that I had never heard said before relative to the Christmas story. My favorite thing about Christmas is that as a believer, I am often challenged by the fact that God’s way of doing things often seems to be the opposite of what we would come up with. Instead of the world’s way of coming down to earth, which would involve celebrity, riches, arrogance, our God and Savior chose humility, poverty and the ultimate sacrifice of dying on a cross hanging between two thieves. This completely humbles me as a believer. I’m amazed at how God uses the mundane to save us from our sin and ourselves.
My Dad is a pastor at a small church in Canada and he’s never come down to Tennessee to see our band perform. The first time my Dad heard this song on the radio last year, he did something he’s never done before. He actually called me up on the phone just to tell me how much he liked my song. I was blown away by his reaction since he’s always supported my decision to become a musician but has never had that strong of a reaction before. What really struck me was the amazing parallel between what I wrote about in the song “How Many Kings” which is how the heart of a father loving his son the way my father felt when he heard the song is a human example of how God’s loving heart for His son Jesus caused Him to give up His son for me. Completely humbling and what Christmas is all about.”
Follow the star to a place unexpected
Would you believe, after all we've projected,
A child in a manger?
Lowly and small, the weakest of all
Unlikeliest hero, wrapped in his mother's shawl -
Just a child -
Is this who we've waited for? 'cause...
How many kings step down from their thrones?
How many lords have abandoned their homes?
How many greats have become the least for me?
And how many gods have poured out their hearts
To romance a world that is torn all apart
How many fathers gave up their sons for me?
Bringing our gifts for the newborn Savior
All that we have, whether costly or meek
Because we believe.
Gold for his honor, and frankincense for his pleasure
And myrrh for the cross he will suffer
Do you believe?
Is this who we've waited for?
All for me...
All for you...
I have been very challenged about the true meaning of Christmas when I listen to this song. Yes, it is a cause for celebration and generosity, but it is also a time for reflection and prayer as we lift up our King in honor and praise for the glorious gift of His sacrifice, humility and unconditional love for us. We were given the ultimate gift by God giving us His son Jesus for Christmas.