Thorns Infest the Earth?

Thorns Infest the Earth?

for (God) has been mindful of the humble state of his servant…” Luke 1:48

One summer, as we sat listening to a campfire worship, my son tapped my arm and asked, “What’s that song we sing in church that goes, ‘Thorns infest the earth?” Peter was in third grade and, like most children his age was a master of random questions.

It caught me completely off guard. So I asked follow-up questions to see if I could narrow the field of possibilities. When do you remember singing it? He responded, “At church, we sing it all the time.” Great. Eventually, I learned it was a Christmas song. But, “thorns infest the earth” and Christmas? I was still at a complete loss.

Thinking back on that moment, I should have spent less time figuring out the song and more time understanding the condition. What did he like about that song? And, what made him think of it now? Had I understood his condition knowing the song might not have been necessary.

We never figured out the name of the song. However, six months later, in a Christmas Eve service, we started to sing, “Joy to the World.” Peter looked at me and said, “Dad! This is the song!” Sure enough, the third verse begins, “No more let sins and sorrows grow, Nor thorns infest the earth;” For the last twenty years, I laugh every time we sing that verse.

It still bothers me I never found out what made him think of that song at that moment. Especially, since being prepared for random questions and being mindful of a child’s perspective were basic youth ministry practices. I was too focused on naming the song when I should have been more concerned with his state of mind.

Songs help us express the emotions we are unable to speak. They also remain deep within our memory and soul. So often we turn to songs to communicate our innermost feelings. Those who hear and understand provide comfort and healing.

In today’s reading, we should listen to why Mary sings instead what, when and where. She sings because God is mindful of hers, and our, humble state. In a world so captivated by anger, we need to be reminded God hears and understands.

Click to read: Luke 1: 46-55

Reflection Questions:

  • What song speaks most to your current condition?
  • When you are down, what song brings you comfort?
  • How frustrating is it when someone does not understand your condition?
  • How comforting is it when they do?


Photo by Andrey Grinkevich on Unsplash

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