#25 - "Bethlehem Dawn" by Todd Agnew
NRT columnist Kevin Davis closes out a year of devotions with his 25th post as he speaks with Todd Agnew about a special Christmas song!

"Bethlehem Dawn" is my favorite song from Todd Agnew’s Christmas album Do You See What I See? The entire album is thematic in that each song is told from the perspective of the different people present at Christ’s birth. There are songs from the Innkeeper, Joseph, Mary, Elizabeth, Simeon, The Magi, The Angels, and "Bethlehem Dawn" is from The Shepherds. Todd also recorded the song on 2004’s Absolute Favorite Christmas.

It is one of the few Christmas songs that I listen to all year long and I consider it one of Todd’s best songs. The version from Do You See What I See? is sung by Michael O’Brien from Newsong. The song is based on this passage from Luke 2:8-20:

The Shepherds and the Angels
8And there were shepherds living out in the fields nearby, keeping watch over their flocks at night. 9An angel of the Lord appeared to them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were terrified. 10But the angel said to them, "Do not be afraid. I bring you good news of great joy that will be for all the people. 11Today in the town of David a Savior has been born to you; he is Christ the Lord. 12This will be a sign to you: You will find a baby wrapped in cloths and lying in a manger." 13Suddenly a great company of the heavenly host appeared with the angel, praising God and saying, 14"Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace to men on whom his favor rests." 15When the angels had left them and gone into heaven, the shepherds said to one another, "Let's go to Bethlehem and see this thing that has happened, which the Lord has told us about." 16So they hurried off and found Mary and Joseph, and the baby, who was lying in the manger. 17When they had seen him, they spread the word concerning what had been told them about this child, 18and all who heard it were amazed at what the shepherds said to them. 19But Mary treasured up all these things and pondered them in her heart. 20The shepherds returned, glorifying and praising God for all the things they had heard and seen, which were just as they had been told.

I can’t even imagine what the shepherds thought of this announcement. God sent His messenger to tell the lowest of low the Great news of Christ’s birth. Rather than doubt, they believed and went to the stable. They were the least of mankind, and yet were the messengers that spread the word about what they had seen. What an example for us as they believed and then told others about Christ, glorifying and praising God!

I had the great privilege to correspond with Todd about this song and here are his comments:

"'Bethlehem Dawn' is actually a really old song of mine that I revamped for the Christmas record. When I was in college, I was thinking about what it would have been like to be one of the shepherds the morning after Christmas. Waking up to a world that didn’t seem quite the same, wondering if you had dreamed it all. I came up with this line about how the Bethlehem dawn couldn’t compare to the light it revealed. You know, basically that the sun and even the beauty of the sunrise was no comparison to seeing the Son of God, the Light of the world. I wrote the chorus and probably finished the song, since I vaguely remember singing it in church. But I lost it. Years later, as the Do You See What I See record was coming together, I remembered it. My Christmas record is basically a musical looking at the Christmas story from the viewpoint of the people involved. I remembered this song from the shepherd’s hearts. So I pulled it out of the mothballs of my memory, wrote new verses, and a new bridge, and it became a part of Do You See What I See."

I am very moved by these extremely powerful lyrics to "Bethlehem Dawn":

The sunrise was beautiful this morning, but somehow it seemed that everything was darker then the sky we had seen just a few hours ago, as the angels sang a song of joy.

Not even the Bethlehem dawn could compare to the light it revealed,
Not even the Bethlehem sun that unveiled the son of God sleeping in a cattle stall, the almighty God humbled to save us all,
Not even the Bethlehem dawn.

The cry of a baby shatters the silence,
Can you believe that same voice makes my heart beat?
And the tears in his eyes, and in his mother's and father's, are tears for all mankind.

Not even the Bethlehem dawn could compare to the light it revealed,
Not even the Bethlehem sun that unveiled the son of God sleeping in a cattle stall, the almighty God humbled to save us all,
Not even the Bethlehem dawn.

This little baby is crying my tears for me,
This little baby is bathing in my shame,
This little baby is giving up his glory to take my place, to light the way.

Not even the Bethlehem dawn could compare to the light it revealed,
Not even the Bethlehem sun that unveiled the son of God sleeping in a cattle stall, the almighty God humbled to save us all,
Can you believe what he sacrificed for me?
Not even the Bethlehem dawn.

Have a very Merry Christmas and remember that our Savior came as a baby in a cattle stall, humbling Himself to save us all! I can’t help but breakdown during the bridge of the song when I think of the tears that baby Jesus shed for us were for me, to take my shame and my place, and to light the way.

You can listen to the song on Todd’s myspace page. Click on "Do You See What I See" and you can listen to any song on the album.

Kevin Davis is a long time fan of Christian music as well as, movies, TV shows and multiple PodCasts. He currently lives in Pennsylvania with his wife and three daughters.

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