Written by Evette Dutton
I wrote this song in 2005. It came out almost fully formed. That almost never happens! Hurricane Katrina had just hit in August of 2005 and the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan shared the headlines every day. The Tsunami that hit in the Indian Ocean the previous Christmas was also on my mind and it felt too familiar watching the news as the death toll of Katrina continued to rise day after day. It seemed like wars and catastrophic storms were happening all over the place and I had a deep sense of unease. I’d been offering up prayers for those who were suffering so much loss and I felt a great desire to hug my two babies everyday.
In October of that year, I was sitting in a show planning meeting with the family when Sheila and Amy began talking about wanting to find something new to add to the upcoming Christmas show. The show was pretty much mapped out at that point but they had a little space that they wanted to change. Sheila made an offhand comment that someone needed to just write a new classic Christmas song.
The meeting ended and as I walked from Sheila’s office up the hill to the back of the theater the first line of “When the King Was Born” came into my head. I had about 20 minutes before I was needed to help open the theater lobby so I made a b-line to Josh’s empty office and wrote down the line in my head. The rest of the song followed almost immediately as I tried to write fast enough to keep up with the thoughts in my head. I quickly recorded the words and melody into the little hand held device I had in my purse, folded up the piece of scratch paper I’d found on Josh’s desk and went back to work.
Over the next few days I couldn’t get the song out of my head and I kept humming it anytime I found myself alone. I rearranged one line of lyrics and played a little bit with the melody to make it more comfortable for me to sing and then I showed it to Josh and Sheila. Tim and Ben came up with a simple acoustic guitar/cello arrangement and we included the song a few weeks later in that years Christmas show.
It’s been really fun to watch When the King Was Born morph over the years. We’ve played it for one event or another almost every Christmas since I wrote it. The arrangement has varied depending on which musicians were involved. I’ve done it as a solo while accompanying myself with a simple piano arrangement, I’ve done it with a full choir, and I’ve done it many times with my husband and children playing and singing with me. I feel like this song came as an answer to my own prayers at the time I wrote it and it continues to bless me each year. It helps me ponder on the love and light I feel from Jesus Christ.
This recording was arranged and recorded with the help of Masa Fukuda and my children at Masa’s studio in Utah. I highly recommend him to anyone for arranging, recording or even voice lessons! Check out Masa’s award winning children’s choir here One Voice Children’s Choir