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Country Christmas: New tune gives a reflection on “The Manger”

J-P Mauro - published on 11/30/22

Anne Wilson followed up her Grammy-nominated debut Christian album with a new song for the Christmas season.

After her debut 2022 album, My Jesus, was nominated for a Grammy Award, Anne Wilson is back with her very first Christmas release. She teamed with country star Josh Turner for the new tune, “The Manger,” and the pair utilize their vastly different vocal ranges to make some sweet harmonies. 

While Wilson’s “The Manger” makes references to the classic Christmas song “Away in the Manger,” it’s more of a reflection on the Nativity. With an upbeat melody and the driving rhythm of a freight train, Wilson paints a picture of a quaint country Christmas, with the local church folks decorating their Nativity scene. 

As the song develops the singers begin to reflect on the nature of the incarnation of Christ and the humble beginnings of the “savior lying in a manger,” a rhyme to rival “elf on a shelf.” There are some wonderful allusions to the Christian faith peppered in the lyrics, but our favorite lines come in the comparison they make between the manger and the cross. 

Early in the song, one of the lines notes that a manger is “a humble bed made of nails and wood.” This line is altered when it is repeated later to recognize that the “rugged cross” on which he died was also made of nails and wood. It is an interesting observation that considers a certain divine foreshadowing in the biblical narrative. Another of these would be how the placement of the infant Jesus in the manger – which is another term for a feeding trough – indicated that he would become the bread of life, and the shepherd that feeds the flocks of the Church. This one, however, didn’t make it into the song.

“The Manger” is an excellent Christmas song that brings together modern Christmas sentiments with traditional religious values. Turner, who may have the best low notes in country music, expertly supports Wilson and steals the show on his verse. The pair bring the song to a close with one verse of “Away in the Manger,” to bring the whole project back home. 

According to the Christian Beat, Wilson said of the song: 

“Sometimes the most simple places represent the most incredible days of our lives. The stable and the manger mark a day when our lives changed forever – the day Jesus was born.” 

Wilson’s Christmas release contains five other seasonal songs, including: “Mary, Did You Know,” “O Holy Night,” “Just Because It’s Christmas” and “Kentucky Fried Christmas.” Hear the whole EP on YouTube or Spotify. Be sure to follow Wilson as she seeks to take home the Grammy Award for Best Contemporary Christian Music Album in February 2023. 

AdventBibleChristian MusicChristmas
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