Chance the Rapper gifted the Saturday Night Live stage Saturday with a carol to Jesus. Sprinkled over a choir singing the “ooooohs” on his song “Finish Line/Drown,” he sang, “Jesus it’s your birthday, happy birthday Jesus, Jesus it’s your birthday.”
When the choir called, “This water is deep, Jesus rescue me,” he said, “I like when you say his name on network TV like that.”
Chance’s lyric changes added to the church mood of the set — a gospel-style choir sat in for T-Pain and gospel singer Kirk Franklin's voices on the original recording. The song itself is an ode to navigating spiritual storms and holding on to hope in times of uncertainty:
“I'll be racing up the stairs I'mma get to the gate singing
All my days I prayed and prayed and now I see the finish line
Oh I'm gonna finish mine...
...The water may be deeper than it's ever been
A sincere reference to Jesus is rare on the comedy sketch show, though some of the writers are clearly well acquainted with certain denominations. Last Christmas brought "Pastor Pat’s Christmas Spectacular," an extremely on-the-nose skewering of liturgical churches during the holiday season, and an earlier sketch this season irreverently but poignantly imagined Mary’s frustration with a sociable Joseph and an unending parade of guests shortly after having given birth in a stable.