No crying he makes? Let’s sing the truth in our Christmas carols | Letters

Readers respond to Emma Beddington’s article on Christmas carols, clarifying details and offering their own versions

Emma Beddington’s assessment of Christmas carols (Schmaltzy, saccharine or sinister? A brief guide to the worst Christmas carols, 15 December) will be on my mind when leading services in the coming days. Away in a Manger always jarred with me because a silent baby Jesus (“no crying he makes”), while inspiring familiarity and nostalgia, renders the story unrelatable. A carol about sleep deprivation and parental angst might not provide escapism, but it would be believable.
Rev Ryan Service
Banbury, Oxfordshire

• I enjoyed Emma Beddington’s witty romp through Christmas carols, which managed to be both thoughtful and amusing, as well as knowledgable. There was one historical inaccuracy: she imagines the author of Once in Royal David’s City penning the objectionable lines “Christian children all must be / Mild, obedient, good as he” while an urchin “cleaned his chimney”.

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