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Advent Day 16: Listen to the Man

I feel the tears and you're not alone, oh

When I hold you, well I won't let go, oh…

You don't need of plan of what you wanna do

Won't you listen to the man that's loving you

Listen to the Man, George Ezra


‘Listen to the Man’ is classic feel-good Ezra. The up-beat ska rhythms paired with Ezra’s old-school voice create the perfect conditions for musical sunshine (if there is such a thing?) And if this song isn’t already delightful enough, the music video stars national treasure, Ian McKellen, in a comedic performance with Ezra.

Guardian critic, Kitty Empire, suggests that part of Ezra’s success lies in the reassuring optimism of his music, providing “succour in an age of anxiety”*, and I would agree. These lyrics are soothing balm for the soul, especially at a time when society tells us from an increasingly young age that we need to have a solid life plan. Cheesy though this may be, I often imagine Ezra’s words in this song as God’s message to me, and to be honest it wouldn’t be an unhappy surprise to discover that God spoke in the deep, soulful tones of George Ezra! But more importantly, the lyrics remind me to listen to Jesus, “the man that’s loving” me.

As I’ve mentioned in previous posts, Jesus does not come to promise us certainty about the future, nor does he often speak in an audible voice with a direct plan of action for our careers, house moves, or relationship dilemmas. Of course, he guides us and shows us a way forward, but he promises us something even more precious than a neat, tidy plan for life; he comes as a man on this earth to give us the gift of his presence.

It can be easy during this busy season to get distracted by our Christmas plans and endless to-do-lists, or to feel overwhelmed by all the concerns and griefs of life that are still very much weighing on us even at “the most wonderful time of the year.”

The good news is that Jesus doesn’t just tell us not to worry “because it will all be fine” in a blasé sort of way; he commits himself to us, faithfully walking with us through all the tears and anxieties. He is the one who we can fully trust when he says to us: “When I hold you, well I won’t let go.” And in his powerful, loving presence our fears begin to dissolve.

The hopes and fears of all the years Are met in thee to-night.

O Little Town of Bethlehem


This is part of my LittlePonderings series: "Unseasonal Songs: An Alternative Advent in Song Lyrics". You can find out more here.

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