Down Along Chicago Avenue

Down Along Chicago Avenue
Copyright © 2012 Bret Hesla.

1. Jesus was born to an unwed mother.
Glory, Glory, What glory!
The outlook wasn’t bright.
But how the angels sang that night
Down along Chicago Avenue.

2. Deep in her coat Mary held her baby.
Glory, Glory, What glory!
She found the shelter door.
A woman smiled and welcomed her
Down along Chicago Avenue.

3. Hope for the world, cuddled by the homeless.
Glory, Glory, What glory!
But many heads were turned
And missed the dream of peace that burned
Down along Chicago Avenue.

4. Far, far away, Farmers gazing skyward
Glory, Glory, What glory!
beheld the northern lights.
But none could see that heav’nly sight
Down along Chicago Avenue

5. Wake, Mary, wake! to the winter morning.
Glory, Glory, What glory!
Quick, grab a bite to eat.
At seven you’re back on the street
Down along Chicago Avenue.

6. Bring gifts, you wise, for the babe before you.
Glory, Glory, What glory!
Oh, find it in your heart
To give these two a healthy start
Down along Chicago Avenue.

Alt v6:

6. Wherever power tramples on the lowly
Glory glory what glory
There Jesus is reborn,
With throngs resisting tyranny
Down along Chicago Avenue.


Words and music by Bret Hesla.
© 2012 Bret Hesla.  All rights reserved. Used by permission.
Licensed via,  Contact: 

Notes: Here’s a Christmas carol in which Jesus is born in another time and place. It tells of Jesus being born in present-day Minneapolis, to a woman who is homeless and staying in a shelter on Chicago Avenue.

This particular shelter — transitional housing — was started in the mid 80s, when the number of people who were homeless in Minneapolis was exploding. The city asked Our Saviour’s Lutheran Church if they would create temporary overnight space for these folks. The church, at the intersection of 24th and Chicago, opened its basement, and the service continues to this day.

This past summer, George Floyd was murdered by the police on the same street, just a mile to the south. I’ve added an alternate verse 6.

PIANO ACCPT — coming soon. before 12/18/2020

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