The story behind “All He Was”

In December of 2011, God gave me another new song. It had been years since the last one, but this one was special to me because I specifically asked for it.

You see… the year before, as new Christmas songs came out on the radio and old ones were re-sung and redone, I found myself wanting a new kind of Christmas song. I wanted one that didn’t focus on the baby in the manger or what that baby had come to do. I didn’t want it to focus on angels or shepherds either. Rather, I wanted to sing one that told the story of what the One in the manger had already done before that Christmas morning.

Colossians 1:15-17 tells us who Jesus really is:

He is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn of all creation. For by Him all things were created, both in the heavens and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or rulers or authorities—all things have been created through Him and for Him. He is before all things, and in Him all things hold together.

That’s a LOT of power. Seriously. One thing that I’ve gotten more revelation on this year has been that Jesus’s power is the stuff of legends… the stuff that superheroes want and story writers try to give their heroes.

Read that verse again. It says that He literally is the power that is holding the earth in its orbit and the Milky Way galaxy together. He’s the One with the power that made your heart beat its first beat when you were inside the womb. He’s got power and authority over every king, prince, president, parliament, general, genius, CEO, and emperor that ever existed. So if you take every power that every hero in every story ever written has ever had and pull it all together in one person, you still wouldn’t come close.

Jesus is the hero of the story that the Author of Life has penned. When authors write stories, they write the whole thing for the hero. They set up the forces of darkness and make them powerful, just to show how much the hero can overcome and prove that the hero is worthy of the name. As an author, if your hero looks weak, you just up the stakes against him, and then give him the skills to beat the villain anyway.

In a well-written story, everything that happens points, in some way or another, to the hero. And isn’t that what that verse specifically says that God did? “All things are created for Him.” History is literally His story.

But then, what did this hero do? Philippians 2:5-7 tells us how Jesus surrendered all that power:

…Christ Jesus, …although He existed in the form of God, did not regard equality with God a thing to be grasped, but emptied Himself, taking the form of a bond-servant, and being made in the likeness of men.

And that is the truth that I wanted to sing about last year, for it awes me.

The thing is, though… I can’t write songs. Literally. I can write articles for my blog (though I try to let the Holy Spirit write them). My day job used to be editing, so I can easily write smooth, grammatically-correct paragraphs. I can polish a mediocre plot into relatively good prose. But I can’t even write even a slightly-mediocre song.

And so I asked God to give me another, like He gave me the other songs years ago. But days and weeks went by, Christmas passed, and I heard no new song in my spirit.

The next Christmas season (2011), my worship leader asked if I wanted to sing a Christmas special. I told her I did, but I didn’t know which one. In my spirit, I told God, “Lord, I know what I want to sing, but You haven’t given me the song yet. Will You?”

Well… He started to give it to me that week. Just a few lines here and a few lines there. Over the span of three weeks, I kept listening and waiting, as I slowly heard line after line and they began to come together, along with the scriptures they were coming from.

Finally, I had it all. And 11 years later, I was finally able to record it professionally and release it for the world. I pray that you will enjoy a deeper revelation of who the One in the manger really was, what He surrendered just to be there, and why He did it all.

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