When I found myself on a Committee revising a Hymn Book one hymn was about to be rejected because its concluding verse used the line 'our boyhood guard and guide', which clearly couldn't be sung by girls or adults. However the earlier verses by Bishop W.W. How from the 19th Century provided one of the few hymns which focus on Jesus' childhood and upbringing which we know from Mark's Gospel was in a Carpenter's household. I though that a paraphrase of the 'Iona prayer' would make a good concluding verse which could lead us into a deeper understanding of God's purpose in the Incarnation. So here is the result:
Behold a little child
laid in a manger bed;
the wintry blasts blow wild
around his infant head.
But who is this, so lowly laid?
The Lord by whom the worlds were made.
The hands that all things made
an earthly craft pursue;
where Joseph plies his trade,
there Jesus labours too,
that weary ones in him may rest,
and faithful toil through him be blest.
Christ, Master Carpenter,
we come rough-hewn to thee;
at last, through wood and nails,
thou mads't us whole and free.
In this thy world remake us, planned
to truer beauty of thine hand.
It was subsequently published in the Methodist book called Hymns and Psalms, and in the United Reformed Church's book called Rejoice and Sing. It can be sung to various tunes (metre 66.66.88) but I do like St. Charles by Caryl Micklem, composed in memory of Erik Routley.