the horse's hay beneath his head
our Lord was born to a manger bed
that all whose wells run dry
could drink of his supply

to keep him warm, the sheep drew near
so grateful for His coming here
come with news of grace
come to take my place
the donkey whispered in his ear
"child, in 30-some-odd years
you'll ride someone who looks like me
untriumphantly"

the cardinals warbled a joyful song
he'll make right what man made wrong
bringing low the hills
that the valleys might be filled

then "child", asked the birds
"well, aren't they lovely words we sing?"
the tiny baby layed there
without saying anything

at a distance stood a mangy goat
with the crooked teeth and a matted coat
weary eyes and worn
chipped and twisted horns

thinking "maybe I'll make friends someday
with the cows and the hens in the rambouillet
but for now, I'll keep away
I've got nothing smart to say"

there's a sign on the barn
in the cabbage town
"when the rain picks up
and the sun goes down
sinners, come inside
with no money, come and buy

no clever talk, nor a gift to bring
requires our lowly, lovely king
come now empty handed, you don't need anything"


and the night was cool
and clear as glass
with the sneaking snake in the garden grass
deep cried out to deep
the disciples fast asleep

and the snake perked up
when he heard You ask
"if you're willing that
this cup might pass
we could find our way back home
maybe start a family all our own"

"but does not the Father guide the Son?
not my will, but yours be done.
what else here to do?
what else me, but You?"

and the snake who'd held the world
a stick, a carrot and a string
was crushed beneath the foot
of your not wanting anything


Lyrics submitted by shadowami

A Stick, a Carrot and String song meanings
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16 Comments

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  • +1
    General Commenthmm. this is a good christmas song. which is something the world has far too few of. so, next christmas everbody.
    kiplingscaton April 20, 2009   Link
  • +1
    General Commentthis might be my favorite track on this album.

    it is also the 2nd song they have where Aaron sings about the disciples sleeping.

    This song: "the disciples fast asleep"
    O' Porcupine: "As His friends slept, Jesus wept"
    hownothingfeelson April 28, 2009   Link
  • +1
    General CommentI read that the band is exploring different ideas about religions. On their Wikipedia page there is even a very inclusivistic quote saying that they don't know if there is only one way to God. Well that's clearly not true, there is only one way to God, but the idea that any religion can save is what Jesus died for. The stick, carrot and string represent religious ideas that God will punish you into trusting and him or that God will try to trick you into it. No, God has offered grace. There is nothing we can do to justify ourselves before our Creator save accepting that we're his children. No matter how good a Christian, Catholic, Orthodox, Protestant, Muslim, Jew, Buddhist, Hindu someone is, their religion will not save them. Religion is a tired, dying institution. The animals represent this perfectly. The donkey (much like Baalams ass) correctly prophesies to Jesus, but that prophecy isn't going to justify him. The birds correctly spell out exactly what Jesus will do, but they're still asking Jesus if they're doing good enough, they're asking if what they're doing matters. The goats don't think they're worth anything because they're ugly so they distance themselves. The ones that get it are the sheep. All they do is draw near gratefully and accept that Jesus is paying the price for what they've done. That's all we can do. Just accept.

    The snake. The snake kills me. He "perks up" when he hears Jesus, in his inmost yearning, asking his Father if he really has to go through what he knows he has to do. In this instance, the snake thinks he won. The snake thinks that Jesus is shirking his responsibility. For a tiny, brief moment, the snake thought he was safe. Until Jesus says, "Not my will but yours be done. What else here to do? What else me but you?" The power of Christ's death was that he relinquished the power he was born with and to have over creation, and completely gave of himself to his Father's will.
    RobbJKon August 08, 2010   Link
  • 0
    General CommentI think it's:
    "you'll ride someone who looks like me,
    untriumphantly"

    Also, it might be:
    then "Child," asked the birds,
    "Well aren't they lovely words we sing?"

    given that he says the child says nothing, and the fact that it's the birds ("we") who are singing
    JustPlainNJon April 16, 2009   Link
  • 0
    General Commentoh my goodness! this song is even better than the one before it.

    these lines:

    "and the snake who'd held the world
    a stick, a carrot and a string
    was crushed beneath the foot
    of your not wanting anything"

    win everything. thank God for Aaron and mwY, and for Yeshua, our blessed Savior
    heartrocketblaston April 30, 2009   Link
  • 0
    General CommentI think there's a quick "but" before the "there's a sign on the barn" line.
    That's what it sounds like at least, and it makes sense...

    There's this outcast goat...
    BUT he's welcome in the barn.
    jofwuon May 01, 2009   Link
  • 0
    General CommentThe carrot tied on a string represents bait for the lamb(Jesus). The snake(satan) tempted Jesus to not go through with dying on the cross, but Jesus only wanted his Father's will to be done. so Satans plan failed because Jesus did not have any earthly desires
    mydyingnormaon May 24, 2009   Link
  • 0
    General Commenti love this song..love the whole album. what gets me is the simple, total faith all the animals show. in this song and king beetle especially. that kind of faith is beautiful, and it makes me feel like i'm denying Him three times before morning every single day
    dixonstixon May 26, 2009   Link
  • 0
    General CommentThe snake also ruled the whole world with that stick, carrot and string... rewards and punishments. But Jesus refused to take the rewards and accepted the punishments and crushed the snake's head.

    This is a powerful song. I'm glad they are writing about Jesus.
    Muffinlyon May 30, 2009   Link
  • 0
    General CommentPossibly the "string, carrot, stick" may mean when Jesus was tempted by the devil in the wilderness?

    Its great. I love the last verse!
    missadrianaon August 21, 2009   Link

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