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Where Is Jesus This Christmas?

by The Wayside

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    Once we recoup our costs associated with the creation and distribution of this track, all profits through Christmas 2018 (meaning, the entire season of Christmas, not just the day) will be donated to Project Connect Nashville. We've definitely seen Jesus in what they do.
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I wrote this song last Christmas, after stumbling across a "debate" on some TV news channel about a supposed "war on Christmas" because somewhere someone was offended by the phrase "Merry Christmas." Meanwhile real war was happening all over the planet, and people who called themselves followers of Jesus were all roiled up over a bunch of political nonsense and culture war distractions. It got under my skin pretty bad.

Musically I went to the basics; Woody, Dylan, Prine... the bedrock stuff for me. I tried to keep it really simple and honest. In doing so I stumbled upon some fairly dark stuff in my own heart. You know what they say about pointing fingers.

So here it is, the release of the first new original Wayside song in a LONG time. We've done covers, and worship songs and hymns, and we've never stopped performing. But I haven't actually released an original song since our Farm record in 2000! That's just insane. Finishing this song helped to start a little flow, and there are more songs coming, Lord willing, in 2019. This one had to get out now, though. A BIG thanks to Bradford Loomis, who made time to set up a mic and record us. And to his friend Brett Thompson who added some extra instruments and mixed it down. This is really just a demo, but it sounds much better than it should thanks to these guys.

Jesus tells us that if we seek him, we will find him. Let's not give up the search.

- John

(P.S. Although we are pushing this song out to all the free streaming services, it will also be available at iTunes and through our own digital store right here. ALL proceeds over and above our costs through the Christmas season will be donated to Project Connect Nashville (www.projectconnectnashville.org), an amazing local ministry that is doing some incredible things to help people break out of the cycle of poverty in relational and holistic ways. (This is a completely unilateral endorsement, by the way. Project Connect is not endorsing this song or the ideas in it. They have nothing to do with this other than inspiring us.)


Where Is Jesus This Christmas?

Three immigrants stand on the platform
Seeking light in a darkening world
The landscaper’s watching his back now
For the Christians who don’t want him here

Somewhere outside in the evening
A wild voice howls, “Children, make way!
The King’s coming back for his people
And the rich will have nothing to say”

So where is Jesus this Christmas?
Is he gone like a scent in the air?
Tell me where is Jesus this Christmas
And Lord help me want to be there

He’s clearly nowhere near the White House
Seems most of the churches can’t hear
The voices of angels are singing
Whatever you do, please don’t fear

There’s a young mother looking for shelter
There’s a young man afraid of the cops
As the congressman loosens his belt there
And the pimps on the news never stop

They say there’s a “War” on for “Christmas”
But they’re the ones holding the guns
Stoking the flames of resentment and fear
Looks like Herod’s work is never done

So where is Jesus this Christmas?
Is he gone like a scent in the air?
Tell me where is Jesus this Christmas
And Lord help me want to be there

It’s fear that he came here to vanquish
It’s death that he came here to slay
But those are the values we live by
In this blessed old U S of A

So I’m turning the tube off this Christmas
I’m praying for my enemies
I’m asking the Spirit to help us
Find that lonely star there in the East

Where is Jesus this Christmas?
Where can this Prince of Peace be?
On the altar of Hallmark and Walmart and Wall Street
His voice is still bothering me

He’s bringing a light to the darkness
He’s preaching good news to the poor
He’s lifting the head of the weary
He’s making an end to all war

That’s where Love is this Christmas
And that’s where I want to be
I believe in mercy, and grace and forgiveness
But Jesus help my unbelief
Jesus help my unbelief


released December 17, 2018
Music and Lyrics: John J. Thompson
Acoustic Guitar, Harmonica, Lead Vocals: John J Thompson
Backing Vocals and Vocal Arrangements: Michelle Lynn Thompson
Backing Vocals and Recording Engineer: Bradford Loomis
Additional Instruments, Mixing, Mastering: Brett Thompson


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The Wayside Nashville

The Wayside is John and Michelle Thompson and the various friends and collaborators who have come alongside them over the past 32 years of rootsy music making. Originally from the Chicago area, they now call East Nashville home and they love it.

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