Last year, singer-songwriter Katy Kinard released her album God of Fireflies, which includes the Christmas-themed original song "Human for Me," which has spoken to me throughout the year. I liken this song to "Welcome to Our World" by Chris Rice. Throughout the song, Katy acknowledges the true wonder of Christ's incarnation as she reflects "And I wonder why on this silent night, You withstood discomfort for me, chose to live and die in a harsher time. You refused to make it easy to be human for me."
The song is loaded with that type of profound response to this most blessed season. I had the opportunity to interview Katy about this great new song "Human for Me."
Please tell me the personal story behind writing this song.
I like how the song is for all year, but nods to Christmas. I've been writing songs since I was in sixth grade, and for some reason I never wanted to write a Christmas song unless it was different than what has already been said. It's part of that creative side in me. I love Christmas music, but I wanted to wait until something hit me. I wasn't trying to write a Christmas song, and then it hit me one day just how human Jesus had to have been, or else King Herod would have found young Jesus doing miracles and Godlike behavior and His ministry would have started long before He turned the water into wine. When He did that miracle, Jesus said to Mary, "My time has not yet come."
Because of that, I started thinking that if Jesus already knew how to count, and the names of all of the colors, and the language, because He's God and He created everything, people would have picked up on the fact that He didn't need to learn anything. Even His brothers and sisters didn't really believe when He was older, and they thought He was normal like them. I'm not saying He didn't know everything, but I think that maybe He had to struggle like us. God became fully human and held back His divinity as He was growing up, other than His knowledge of God. The frustration of being human, learning to walk, probably falling down and skinning His knee, and learning to count and speak the language--it was interesting to me to think of the patience He needed to have to be human.
Please tell me about any Bible verses that you used to write the song.
Luke 2:7(NKJV): "And she brought forth her firstborn Son, and wrapped Him in swaddling cloths, and laid Him in a manger, because there was no room for them in the inn."
John 6:42(NIV): 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'?"
1 John 3:16(NIV): "This is how we know what love is: Jesus Christ laid down His life for us. And we ought to lay down our lives for our brothers and sisters."
Ecclesiastes 8:17(VOICE): "I saw all the works and ways of God, and it became clear to me that no one is able to grasp fully this mystery called life. Try as we might, we cannot discover what has been done under the sun. Even if the wise claim to know, they really haven't discovered it."
Micah 6:8(NKJV): "He has shown you, O man, what is good; and what does the LORD require of you but to do justly, to love mercy, and to walk humbly with your God?"
Philippians 2:5-11(VOICE): "In other words, adopt the mind-set of Jesus the Anointed. Live with His attitude in your hearts. Remember: Though He was in the form of God, He chose not to cling to equality with God, But He poured Himself out to fill a vessel brand new; a servant in form and a man indeed. The very likeness of humanity, He humbled Himself, obedient to death--a merciless death on the cross! So God raised Him up to the highest place and gave Him the name above all. So when His name is called, every knee will bow, in heaven, on earth, and below. And every tongue will confess "Jesus, the Anointed One, is Lord," to the glory of God our Father!"
Acts 5:30-31(VOICE): "The God of our ancestors raised Jesus from death. You killed Jesus by hanging Him on a tree, but God has lifted Him high, to God's own right hand, as the Prince, as the Liberator. God intends to bring Israel to a radical rethinking of our lives and to a complete forgiveness of our sins."
What is the takeaway message for listeners?
One of the lines in the song, "stood in every line, never altered time," expresses how Jesus could have gotten whatever He wanted, in an earthly sense, without waiting, but instead He showed great patience. He grew up in a harsh time relative to the climate of where He lived, and He didn't have the conveniences that we have like air conditioning, heat and cars. He chose to live in a time where He lived in harsh circumstances and didn't just change the weather.
We live in the easiest time in human history, and yet we all seem to have a lot to complain about. When people hear the song, they like hearing about His humanity, but ultimately there is a reverence in the song because it is about our Savior, Jesus Christ. For Jesus to go through what He did for us, I stand in awe, in holy reverence of Him, and not as a historian thinking about how human He was. There's something to studying Him historically, but ultimately I am a worshipper in faith. Regarding our humanity, Micah 6:8 is a great reminder of how we should live: "do justice, love mercy and walk humbly with God."
Lyrics: Tiny babe in a manger
When you were hungry, you cried
Eyelids closed at bedtime.
Eight strange hours of slumber
Brought you good and bad dreams
Trapped inside our time frame.
Heaven stood by, watched every cry
Deep in the night and in the daylight, as
You learned to be human for me.
Mary held both your hands high as
You tried hard to walk straight,
Hated every knee scrape.
The ABC's of an earth kind
And counting on your fingers
You had yet to master... cause
Tender mistakes were the only way
Sinlessly hiding your secret at stake...
You had to be human for me.
And I wonder why on this silent night
You withstood impatience for me
Stood in every line, never altered time
You refused to make it easy to be
Human for me
Water turned into sweet wine, and
Suddenly a city whispered of your family.
Never had they foreseen signs
You must have been steady
Til Your time was ready.
Even dead summer heat, winter's cold freeze
Never once changed for your comfort or ease.
You chose to breathe human for me
And I wonder why on this silent night
You withstood discomfort for me
Chose to live and die in a harsher time
You refused to make it easy to be
Human for me
Flesh torn and bruised...briefly held in a tomb
Far from the stable where Mary held You
Love clothed in dust
Human for us
Jesus came to Earth as a baby, born of a woman, to change the world. At no time of the year are we more reminded of just how much He has changed the world than at Christmas. 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. Jesus gave Himself, and His gift was free and undeserved. That's the true meaning of Christmas. When you allow that to sink down from your head into your heart, it changes us and how we respond. It affects all aspects of our lives.
My prayer for my life and my family is that we all truly understand that Jesus came for each one of us. Our response is to worship Him and share Him with others who don't know Him. The song is a great reminder of the kind of heart we should have both as people valued by God. As Christians, we are God's adopted sons and daughters and we are "fearfully and wonderfully made."
I love the prayerful tone of this song. We should never forget that Jesus was born in a stable, probably a cave, with animals, and his parents were running for their lives. Truly, no other king in the history of the world besides Jesus humbled themselves to come off His throne to become one of His own and become the least... for us. As you sing this song this Christmas season, bow your hearts in reverence, and remember these words: "flesh torn and bruised, briefly held in a tomb, far from the stable where Mary held You, Love clothed in dust, human for us." Amen and Merry Christmas!
Watch the music video below.
NRT Lead Contributor Kevin Davis is a longtime fan of Christian music, an avid music collector and credits the message of Christian music for leading him to Christ. He lives in Pennsylvania with his wife and three daughters.
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