“We stayed awake one starry night
Just to watch the sky turn and change and aim”
Ricky Ross is the Songwriter Laureate of Christmas. Yes, last year Deacon Blue made a Christmas single You’ll Know It’s Christmas but Ross has been putting Christmas into his work for many a long year. If Is till had my dario show I would play the piano version of Bethelhem's Gate right into this one... click here for other Christmas references in Deacon Blue
Bethlehem Begins is the lead off track on their 2014 record A New House and has been kicking off the gigs of the recent tour. Like the rest of the A New House record it bursts with hopefulness and actually its theological heart might be where all the other optimism pumps out from. Bethlehem births the possibility of rebirth.
Ross takes the inspiration here from WB Yeats’ poem The Second Coming. Joni Mitchell used the same poem on her Slouching Towards Bethlehem To Be Born from her Night Ride Home album. Ricky recently told The Daily Record “There’s a line in the poem about ‘slouching towards Bethlehem’ and the idea that you have to go back to open up new possibilities. Bethlehem is such an evocative word. It has a connection to the nativity story but also because of everything that’s going on now between Israel and Palestine.”
Everything I personally want in a song is jam packed into the incredible lyrics of Bethlehem Begins. There is an admission of confusion and brokenness and confession that sometimes denial is all we have. There is a recognition that a miracle is perhaps our only hope and then there is this Bethlehem place and event that gives that puts that transcendent miracle into time and space. It is back to the future to find a new beginning. It rocks and the chorus soars with poetry that lifts the soul.
“You got to go back, gotta go back, gotta go back in time
To begin again…”