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The further we get into December the more ubiquitous the Christmas music becomes. This morning one of the carols on the radio was James Taylor singing “Some Children See Him” … and listening to it was a great antidote to the parade of bad-news news stories this last week … in particular the ridiculous backlash against the Mall of America Santa story. I mentioned that to Lori as we were pulling Christmas lights out of the plastic storage bin and she said, “You know it has an All Saints connection, right?”

No. I had no clue. But she did. So here’s the story:

The carol was written by Alfred Burt in 1951. Alfred — a gifted musician — inherited the tradition passed on to him by his father of writing an original Christmas Carol each year for the family Christmas card. The carols he wrote between 1942-1954 became known as the “Alfred Burt Carols” and were first recorded in 1964 … with the James Taylor version of “Some Children See Him” coming along in 2004.

The All Saints Church connection? Alfred Burt was the brother of our seventh rector John Burt … who went on to become the Bishop of Ohio and left a legacy of a lifetime of activism for social justice. Raised by their Episcopal priest father (Bates Burt) both Alfred and John used their gifts to live out the Gospel values of love, justice and compassion … John leaving a legacy as rector that continues to be lived out here at All Saints in Pasadena and Alfred in Christmas carols that continue to inspire decades later and in the work of his niece (John’s daughter, Emily) who has carried on the family tradition.

My Advent prayer? That we might all be given the grace to go and do likewise.


Some children see Him lily white,
the baby Jesus born this night.
Some children see Him lily white,
with tresses soft and fair.
Some children see Him bronzed and brown,
The Lord of heav’n to earth come down.
Some children see Him bronzed and brown,
with dark and heavy hair.

Some children see Him almond-eyed,
this Savior whom we kneel beside.
some children see Him almond-eyed,
with skin of yellow hue.
Some children see Him dark as they,
sweet Mary’s Son to whom we pray.
Some children see him dark as they,
and, ah! they love Him, too!

The children in each different place
will see the baby Jesus’ face
like theirs, but bright with heavenly grace,
and filled with holy light.
O lay aside each earthly thing
and with thy heart as offering,
come worship now the infant King.
‘Tis love that’s born tonight!

Another in our series of Advent Meditations from All Saints Church … this one written by Susan Russell, Senior Associate for Communication. More about Alfred Burt here. More about John Burt here.