While you were sleeping (Casting Crowns)

Casting Crowns is a Grammy Award winning Christian band that employs a soft rock music style. This song first appeared in their album "Lifesong" and later reappeared in "Peace on Earth", released in 2008, with over 500,000 copies sold in one year.

Oh little town of Bethlehem
Looks like another silent night
Above your deep and dreamless sleep
A giant star lights up the sky
And while you're lying in the dark
There shines an everlasting light
For the King has left His throne
And is sleeping in a manger tonight, tonight

Oh Bethlehem, what you have missed while you were sleeping
For God became a man
And stepped into your world today
Oh Bethlehem, you will go down in history
As a city with no room for its King
While you were sleeping
While you were sleeping

Oh little town of Jerusalem
Looks like another silent night
The Father gave His only Son
The Way, the Truth, the Life had come
But there was no room for Him in the world He came to save

Jerusalem, what you have missed while you were sleeping
The Saviour of the world is dying on your cross today
Jerusalem, you will go down in history
As a city with no room for its King
While you were sleeping
While you were sleeping

United States of America
Looks like another silent night
As we're sung to sleep by philosophies
That save the trees and kill the children
And while we're lying in the dark
There's a shout heard 'cross the eastern sky
For the Bridegroom has returned
And has carried His bride away in the night, in the night

America, what will we miss while we are sleeping
Will Jesus come again
And leave us slumbering where we lay
America, will we go down in history
As a nation with no room for its King
Will we be sleeping
Will we be sleeping

United States of America
Looks like another silent night

LOOKS LIKE ANOTHER...= It seems just another silent night, just like another normal day with nothing special. The word ANOTHER here means "one more, the same as others, with nothing special".

SILENT NIGHT= When Jesus was born, outside the town of Bethlehem, in the night, everything was quiet, so it was a "silent night". But for any English speaking person, the words "silent night" in this context, clearly bring to mind the most famous Christmas carol in the word, called "Silent Night" (watch it here).

ABOVE=  /əbʌv/ over, way up.

DREAMLESS= Without dream. The suffix –LESS means "without" (e.g. colourless = without colour; fearless = without fear). A dreamless sleep is when you are sleeping but have no dreams, your mind is empty.

GIANT= /aɪənt/ huge, very very big.

LIGHTS UP= Illuminates.

EVERLASTING= Eternal, neverending.

THE KING HAS LEFT HIS THRONE= The King is God, Jesus. His throne /θrəʊn/ is a reference to the heavens, and He left his throne because He became a man and was born in Bethlehem.

MANGER= /mnə*/ Joseph and Mary couldn't find a place to sleep when they arrived in Bethlehem, so they took cover in a stable, with animals, outside the city, inside a cave. When the baby was born they put it in the manger (a wooden box with food for the animals).

WHAT YOU HAVE MISSED= If you miss something, you are not present or you don't understand it, so you don't know that it happened.

FOR GOD BECAME A MAN= Because God became a man. In some cases we can use FOR with the meaning of BECAUSE.

STEPPED INTO= Went inside.

YOU WILL GO DOWN IN HISTORY...= You will be remembered in history...

NO ROOM= No space.

THE FATHER GAVE HIS ONLY SON= In Christianity, God is one, but has three "persons": the Father, the Son (Jesus) and the Holy Spirit (or Holy Ghost). It is the second person, Jesus, who was born in Bethlehem, and so, God became a man. Later he was killed in Jerusalem, so the sentence "the Father gave His only Son" means that God-Father let Jesus die to save us. He gave his Son to us.

THE WAY, THE TRUTH, THE LIFE HAD COME= Jesus said "I am the way, the truth and the life", so this sentence means "Jesus had come".

THE SAVIOUR OF THE WORLD= Jesus.

AS WE'RE SUNG TO SLEEP BY PHILOSOPHIES...= While they make us sleep by singing philosophies...

THAT SAVE THE TREES AND KILL THE CHILDREN= This is a reference to modern thinking, that values new things, such as ecology, but at the same time allows abortion. This line is no comment against nature protection, it simply says that today in America (and many other countries), the life of a tree is more important than the life of children, because a tree is protected from the beginning, but children can be killed before they are born.

'CROSS= Across.

THERE'S A SHOUT HEARD 'CROSS THE EASTER SKY= This is a reference to the Book of Revelations or Apocalypse (the last book in the Bible, telling about the end of time and the Second Coming of Jesus). Before the end of the present world, God will mark the good people to be saved and preserved (the bridegroom will take the bride away). This is the fragment:

And I saw another angel ascending from the east, having the seal of the living God: and he cried with a loud voice to the four angels, to whom it was given to hurt the earth and the sea, saying, "Hurt not the earth, neither the sea, nor the trees, till we have sealed the servants of our God in their foreheads". [Rev. 7, 2:3]

FOR THE BRIDEGROOM HAS RETURNED AND HAS CARRIED HIS BRIDE AWAY IN THE NIGHT= Again, we see FOR with the meaning of BECAUSE. When two people get married, on the day of the wedding the woman is the BRIDE and the man is the BRIDEGROOM. This line is a reference to the parable of The Wise and the Foolish Virgins, where Jesus explains that we must always be ready because we do not know the day or the time when He will come back (read about this in the section of SONG MEANING). So here, we are mixing the story told in the Book of Revelations with the story told by Jesus in the Gospel.

SLUMBERING= (old fashioned) sleeping.

This song has a Christian message and all the symbols and stories come directly from the Bible, so it may be quite enigmatic for those who don't know much about the Bible.

EVENT 1
Jesus was born in Bethlehem, in a stable with animals, because there was no room for Joseph and Mary in the inn and they couldn't find another place to spend the night. So when Jesus was born, they put Him in the manger. Meanwhile, a big star in the sky was announcing the event. But while this was happening, nobody in Bethlehem was conscious of the importance of this or did anything about it. It all happened while people were sleeping.

EVENT 2
Then, He was killed in Jerusalem, but the city continued with its festivities because most people didn't care much about it. Three days later He came back to life early in the morning... while people were sleeping.

EVENT 3
Now, the same thing may be happening in the USA (or any other country), people don't care, they're too busy shopping to realize the important things in life, so again, if something really important happens, we won't pay any attention. That third crucial event they talk about in the song is the moment when we will meet God face to face. For mankind in general this is the time when Jesus will return to earth to start a new era of peace and justice (The Second Coming); for everyone of us, it is also the moment of death. In either case (individually or collectively), we don't know when it will happen, so we must always be ready. This appears in the parable of the wise and the foolish virgins (see below), so the song makes a reference to the bride and the bridegroom using the same symbols Jesus used in the parable to talk about this.

The song says "the Bridegroom has returned and has carried His bride away in the night". The bridegroom is Jesus and the bride is the Church, the people who are ready for Him at that moment and so will be saved. In the parable, the bridegroom (Jesus) returned "in the night", when least expected, and not everybody was ready (many were sleeping).

What the song implies is that the USA, as a nation, may not be ready for that moment, so Jesus will come, He will take "the bride" away and America will be sleeping, like the foolish virgins, because they're not ready.

The song also carries an antiabortion message, because the example they use here is that "we're sung to sleep by philosophies that save the trees and kill the children". Of course saving the trees and protecting the animals is important, but we are forgetting that some things are much more important than that, because a human life (born or unborn) is far much more sacred than any other life on earth. But that's what happens when a society forgets about God. So the question for America and many other countries is "are you sleeping?".



PARABLE OF THE WISE AND THE FOOL VIRGINS

"At that time, the kingdom of heaven will be like 10 girls that went to wait for the bridegroom. They brought their lamps with them. 5 of the girls were foolish. And 5 of the girls were wise. The 5 foolish girls brought their lamps, but they did not bring more oil for the lamps to burn. The wise girls brought their lamps and more oil in jars. The bridegroom was very late. All the girls became tired and began sleeping. "At midnight someone announced, 'The bridegroom is coming! Come and meet him!' "Then all the girls woke up. The girls made their lamps ready. But the foolish girls said to the wise girls, 'Give us some of your oil. The oil in our lamps is all gone.' "The wise girls answered, 'No! The oil we have might not be enough for all of us. But go to the people that sell oil and buy some for yourselves.' "So the five foolish girls went to buy oil. While they were gone, the bridegroom came. The girls that were ready went in with the bridegroom to the wedding feast. Then the door was closed and locked. "Later the other girls came. The girls said, 'Sir, sir, open the door to let us in.' "But the bridegroom answered, 'I tell you the truth. I don't know you.' "So always be ready. You don't know the day or the time {when the Son of Man will come}. Matthew 25:1-13

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