Listening

My wife got from somewhere, maybe as a shower gift, a music CD entitled Nature’s Lullabies. She plays it a low volume at night when she puts our son to bed in his bassinet. A woman sings a capella songs in the public domain. I can only hear odd phrases.

At first I felt an unexpected, unwelcome sorrow or grief upon hearing the line, “God hears all the little voices.” I suppose it is because I have heard the little voices of animals, birds, insects, and children – the song is about and for children – and have mostly ignored them. Sometimes I hear the sounds my infant son makes – his cries and growls, and am annoyed by them.

The song reminded me that my religion teaches God does attend to the minutest squalls, sounds, and doings of his smallest image bearers. It reminded me that God likewise heard my protests, squalls, “infant songs.” Perhaps he is still listening. I’m trying to listen more attentively to my little one.

I googled the line to see if I could find the song’s complete lyrics. The search returned three Google books scanned with three similar versions of the song, the oldest of which appears to be dated 1864. According to the Google bookscan of, I think the 1907 version, The American Normal Reader, the following was translated from the German:

Can you count the stars?

Can you count the stars that brightly
Twinkle in the midnight sky?
Can you count the clouds so lightly
O’er the meadows floating by?
God the Lord doth mark their number
With His eyes that never slumber;
He hath made them, every one.

Do you know how many children
Rise each morning blithe and gay?
Can you count the little voices
Singing sweetly day by day?
God hears all the little voices-
In their infant songs rejoices;
He doth love them, ev’ry one.

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