Hold the Child Gently

from "Hold the Child Gently", a Christmas Cantata

Music by Ron Klusmeier
Words by Walter Farquharson
Tune Name: NELESEN

Lyrics as Poetry

Hold the child gently, close to your heart.
Hold the child gently now.
Hold the child gently, safe in your love.
Here is God’s gift to you.

You are the child held close in such love.
You are the child I see.
You are the child I treasure in truth,
bringer of joy to me.

Now in this place see children of mine;
laughter and tears and care.
Each has the face of Bethlehem child;
each does the manger share.

No child of mine should be hungry or cold;
none should be left alone.
Cradle each one, make welcome and warm.
Cradle and welcome me.

Sacred each life wrapped in love’s arms;
apple of eye to me.
Now let the light of Christmas shine forth;
hold and be held by me.

Words by
Walter FarquharsonCopyright © 2000 by Walter Farquharson
Administered by Hope Publishing Company
Carol Stream, Illinois • USA

Comments About Song


It can be such a holy moment. To hold a child, newborn or child adopted and newly brought into your household, your family, a grandchild, a child in whatever way special to you – this is an awesome, holy time.

Words fumble and bumble towards describing this moment but ultimately, inevitably, they all fall short.

The words are written as if spoken by the Holy One, the life-giving, protecting, nurturing, parenting God.

The child comes as gift, gift to family, gift to community – gift. Gift of love, through love, to love. There is no ownership to be claimed. There is no power over to claim. There is no right to define, determine, possess. There is gift, to be humbly, gently held and nurtured.

The child that is held, the child that is seen, is that amazing being who will be treasured – like the pearl of great price whose true value is hidden – not assigned or shaped by me or by another. This child is treasured. This treasured one is bringer of joy.

The child is held through laughter and tears, times of fear –even dread, times of adventure and doing.

No child should be hungry, cold, unloved, crying for comfort. Jesus told his followers that when one of his little ones was left hungry by a careless world, he had been left hungry. When one sees parents die as victims of bomb or landmine, Jesus is orphaned.

But equally true – when one who had been cold is warmed, when one who was homeless refugee is welcomed, Jesus has been warmed. Jesus too has been welcomed.

“Guard me as the apple of your eye. Hide me in the shadow of your wings,” sings the Psalmist. Near the end of life’s journey and the exodus journey of the escaped slave people he had led, Moses sings a song. Moses sings (or recites) the very long song “to its very end” according to the author of the Book of Deuteronomy. Moses the Liberator, Moses the Law-giver, sings of how God cared for the people as the apple of his eye and continues to shelter them with protecting wings.

A few Christmases ago I used, at our local Care Home, a Christmas guided meditation I had written for use in the congregation. I was moved to see how many of the residents, without hesitation, raised their arms to hold and cradle ever so gently the child imagined in their arms.

There is a wonderful reciprocity in love. The lover, even the parent, is in turn loved, gently and beautifully held.

                                                    Audio Sample

One verse played on piano

Scripture References

  • Deuteronomy 32:9-11
  • Psalm 17:1-8
  • Matthew 25:31-45
  • Luke 2:22-38
  • Luke 9:46-48


Hold the Child Gently
Instrumental music for worship on the Advent theme of Love. Music by Ron Klusmeier (inspired by the poetry of Walter Farquharson). Ron Klusmeier, piano. Rheana Slack, violin. Video Design & Editing by Christina Bogucki.

Season, Theme
or Subject

  • Care, Caring
  • Children∶ music for
  • Christmas
  • Christmas Eve
  • Hunger
  • Intergenerational
  • Jesus∶ birth
  • Justice, Human Rights
  • Light
  • Love∶ God's
  • Love∶ human love

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