Twenty Six Years Ago…In the First Light

Twenty six years ago I wrote a song for a friend who was doing a custom album. She was looking for an “all season Christmas song.”

I set about writing a song that would highlight what happened before and after the birth of Christ. The result was a song called In the First Light.

At the time I had just gotten off the road with the group GLAD. My arrangements and melodies for GLAD were typically on the complicated side, so I intentionally tried to write a simple melody. Ironically, it became one of my most well known songs. It was the first of many times I’d learn complex doesn’t always mean better.

Last year Travis Cottrell did a version of In the First Light that I think captures the drama of the lyrics. Enjoy.

12 Responses to Twenty Six Years Ago…In the First Light

  1. Sam H December 22, 2010 at 1:54 PM #


  2. Charlie Hoera December 22, 2010 at 1:55 PM #

    This is so good .. thank you, Bob for posting it! It was approx 18 years ago that the Lord lead me as a lay music guy to form an ensemble group at our church in Fort Worth, which we named “Glad Too!”, and it was primarily inspired by this song and Glad’s Acappella Project. We sang together for a number of years, and this was and will always be, my favorite song to perform acappella. I am blessed to be a worship leader now at a different church in Fort Worth (Calvary Bible), and am still being greatly influenced by your ministry — thank you (and I am really looking forward to the next Worship Conference)!!

  3. Tim Gray December 22, 2010 at 9:39 PM #

    I love this song. I have loved Glad’s A Capella project since it first came out. Travis did a great job with this. Blessings

  4. Todd Humphrey December 23, 2010 at 8:32 AM #

    As I recently commented at our rehearsal on Tuesday, this is my all-time favorite Christmas song. We will be singing it at our Christmas Eve service and on Sunday morning. Our arrangement will be a little more upbeat than Cottrell’s, but that’s irrelevant. It’s the powerful text supported by a strong, yet singable melody that makes this song so effective.

    I have never seen a song that so simply, yet so effectively captures “the whole story.” “From the Squallor” comes close, but I still like “In the First Light” better.

    Thanks for writing this song, and thanks for drawing our attention to the process of how this song was written, reminding us of the importance of humble simplicity.

    Thanks most of all, Bob, for your humility, your faithfulness, your relationship with the Savior, and your love for His people.

    Merry Christmas to you and your ever-growing family!


  5. Chris December 23, 2010 at 8:57 AM #

    Thank you Bob for writing this song. The first time I heard it was in high school when my ensemble sang it for our Christmas tour. It was extremely moving then and as I have grown in my faith and in my role as a worship leader it is still one of those songs that truly exemplifies the gospel and the true reason for the incarnation of Christ. I love Travis and have had the opportunity to serve with him several times (singing in a choir for him) and you are right his orchestration does a great job of directing the lyrics.

  6. Alan December 23, 2010 at 3:37 PM #

    Bob, this song has been a blessing for so many years. I heard it shortly after I accepted Christ when I was 12 and have loved it ever since. The way the song ties together Christmas with Easter with His coming again is masterful. Praise God for leading you in writing this treasure!

  7. Terry M. Gray December 25, 2010 at 1:16 AM #

    Bob–one of my favorite songs. Heard it first on Acapella Project a looong time ago. I can’t remember an arrangement I haven’t enjoyed. I love to sing it too. Theologically rich songs like this one are so powerful. Thank you for the ministry you’ve given the church of Christ all these years. May you have a blessed Christmas.

  8. John Walter December 25, 2010 at 9:46 PM #


    Thanks so much (thanking the Lord for His inspiration) for this song. I first heard it on the album; my wife and I adapted it to sing a duet / special music for a Christmas Eve Service ~15 years ago at our Church. I agree with the other responses that the song ‘says it all.’ Again, many thanks.

    In Him,

  9. TroyP January 19, 2011 at 5:59 PM #

    Love this song, Bob. Stay the course!

  10. Faith Walkup February 27, 2011 at 10:54 AM #

    Heard the GLAD version this am here at home and it still makes me weep & lift my arms to heaven. JESUS is soon to call His bride to Himself! Bless you, Bob!

  11. Bruce Youmans August 7, 2015 at 10:39 AM #

    I heard this song in the late 1980’s or early 1990’s. It was incorporated into a youth musical called “Christmas Lights at Christmas Time.” It started out as a solo, the second line added a harmony line; the third line became three part harmony. Absolutely beautiful. I would love to find a copy of the youth musical recording if anyone has it.


  1. Podcast | Episode 72: Away In A Manger | Blooming Inspired Network - December 23, 2018

    […] Original Song & Lyrics: Bob Kauflin, c. 1984 Musical Performance: Travis Cottrell, Ring the Bells (C)2008 […]

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