George Michael’s “Jesus to a Child” Lyrics Meaning

George Michael wrote the lyrics of “Jesus to a Child” as a tribute to a gay lover, Anselmo Feleppa (1956-1993). The language contained therein does not directly point to this reality, as at the time of its release George was still an in-the-closet homosexual. So basically it is a statement of strong affection to the addressee. And the title is based on the singer exclaiming that this individual “smiled at (him) like Jesus to a child”. That is the biblical character Jesus is commonly portrayed as being affectionate towards children. So as alluded to earlier, most of the metaphors utilized in the lyrics point to the idea of the singer being deeply in love with the addressee and vice versa.

First Verse

The first verse presents an idea like the narrator believing that their association was an act of fate. However, he drops the line “heaven sent and heaven stole”, which implies that said union is no longer active and in fact ended just as unexpectedly as it began.

Second and Third Verses

In the second verse it becomes more obvious that the singer is depressed. It is also made plainer that the addressee is no longer around, which is what is causing him to be upset. And it’s not until the third verse that clues are dropped that this person was a romantic interest. And despite the fact that the singer and the addressee have parted ways, he proclaims that this individual “will always be (his) love”.

So again, in hindsight we know who exactly George Michael is singing to. Indeed he commonly dedicated live performances of “Jesus to a Child” directly to Anselmo Feleppa. But there are certain key factors of their real-life relationship which are not presented in the lyrics. For instance, the gender/sex of the addressee, most likely intentionally, is never specified. Nor is it made apparent that this individual has passed away. So generally speaking, this track can be interpreted as one whereas the singer greatly loves – and misses – the person he is singing to, who is a former lover.

Lyrics of “Jesus to a Child”

Facts about “Jesus to a Child”

This is the lead single from George Michael’s third album, “Older”. And Virgin Records released it on 8 January 1996.

George Michael donated the royalties from “Jesus to a Child” to charity. However, he did so secretly, with this act of kindness not being revealed until after he died.

“Jesus to a Child” topped the music charts in nine countries, including scoring a number one on the UK Singles Charts.

And generally speaking it charted in almost 25 nations.

The track has also been certified Gold in up to seven countries, including the UK and US.

George Michael met Anselmo Feleppa, a Brazilian, in 1992 while he was performing in Rio de Janeiro. Anselmo, a fashion designer by trade, had attended this concert. And he died a little over a year after hooking up with George due to complications related to the AIDS virus. George knew that he was HIV-positive but did not discover so until after they’ve already been together for six months.

Anselmo Feleppa
A very rare photo of George Michael and Anselmo Feleppa.

George Michael (1963-2016) first performed this song at the initial edition of the MTV Europe Music Awards in 1994.

6 Responses

  1. Cher wyle says:

    It’s George’s Lament, he had never really known real Love until he met Anselmo , they met so unexpectedly it was as if Jesus had answered his prayer.
    George accepted it ,somewhat as a child with wide eyed innocence .I find the piece incredibly beautiful the use of the flamingos guitar weeping in it’s introduction and George’s such heartfelt expression, a lament to his lover .

    • Anonymous says:

      There’s no such thing as “flamingo” guitar. It’s called Flamenco. Anyways there is no Flamenco presence in the song. It’s just an acoustic guitar. The song is fantastic and I feel really bad about George.

      • Daria Joanna says:

        Thank you for straightening up. I can’t stop listening to this song. It brings sadness and the beauty in the same time.
        All album ( Older ) is fantastic .

  2. Anonymous says:

    Love the song. Love George.

  3. Anonymous says:

    I’m only now realising what a truly brilliant musician George Michael was.

  4. Anonymous says:

    My heart and soul.
    Missed forever

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