Behind the Christmas Song: Sweet Little Jesus Boy

Sweet Little Jesus Boy finds it’s roots in the African-American spirituals.

The song was written by Robert MacGimsey.

The child was born and wrapped in swaddling clothes

The child was born and wrapped in swaddling clothes

According to legend, MacGimsey left the midnight Christmas Eve service he’d been attending that cold night in 1932’s New York City.  Walking the final blocks to his one room apartment, he passed the open doors of a private club.  Glancing inside he noticed people shouting, swearing and singing while others were passed out drunk on the sidewalk.

His heart broke at the strange way these individuals celebrated the birth of Christ, “most perfect Person who ever lived on this earth.”  He thought, “We seem to have missed the whole significance of His life”.

Once he was back in his apartment that night he pulled out an envelope and began to write on it.  The words flowed from his heart as an apology to the Christ-child for not recognizing Him when He came to this earth.

MacGimsey first published the song in 1934.

MacGimsey was known for many of his compositions, including those in Walt Disney’s Song of the South.  He was also well known for his double whistling technique.

The Christmas song has since been recorded by numerous artists.

Do you take the time to remember the Christ child and the importance of His birth and life on earth?

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