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Notes on the Notes – December 25, 2016

Christmas Day Readings:

Isaiah 35:1-2   Zechariah 9:9-10  Isaiah 60:13-15  John 1: 1-18

“O Ancient Love” (VU #17)

“O ancient love, processing through the ages;
O hidden love, revealed in human form;
O promised love, the dream of seers and sages:
O living Love, within our hearts be born,
O living Love, within our hearts be borne.

O homeless love, that dwells among the stranger;
O lowly love, that knows the mighty’s scorn;
O hungry love, that lay within a manger:
O living Love, within our hearts be born,
O living Love, within our hearts be borne.

O gentle love, caressing those in sorrow;
O tender love, that comforts those forlorn;
O hopeful love, that promises tomorrow:
O living Love, within our hearts be born,
O living Love, within our hearts be borne.

O suffering love, that bears our human weakness;baby
O boundless love, that rises with the morn,
O mighty love, concealed in infant meekness:
O living Love, within our hearts be born,
O living Love, within our hearts be borne.”

This hymn was written by Michael Joncas in 1984.

 “Good Christian Friends Rejoice” (VU #35)

“Good Christian friends, rejoice with heart and soul and voice!
Give ye heed to what we say:  News!  News!  Jesus Christ is born today.
Ox and ass before him bow, and he is in the manger now.
Christ is born today!  Christ is born today!

Good Christian friends, rejoice with heart and soul and voice!
Now ye hear of endless bliss: Joy! Joy! Jesus Christ was born for this!
He hath opened heaven’s door, and we are blest forevermore.
Christ was born for this! Christ was born for this!

Good Christian friends, rejoice with heart and soul and voice!
Now ye need not fear the grave: Peace! Peace! Jesus Christ was born to save!
Calls you one and calls you all to gain his everlasting hall.
Christ was born to save! Christ was born to save!”

This hymn was translated by John Mason Neale from a 14th-century carol, written in German and Latin, and was included in his Carols for Christmas-tide (1853).  The text has been revised to make it more inclusive and thus more useable in contemporary worship, although the original translation remains more popular outside of the church.

Hark! The Herald Angels Sing” (VU #48)

“Hark! the herald angels sing Glory to the newborn King;
Peace on earth and mercy mild,  God and sinners reconciled:
Joyful all ye nations rise,  Join the triumph of the skies,
With the angelic host proclaim,  Christ is born in Bethlehem:
Hark! the herald angels sing  Glory to the newborn King…”

The carol we now know as “Hark! the herald angels sing” did not start life as such, and required at least four people to bring it to its current form. Charles Wesley wrote the original words as a Christmas Day hymn and first published it in 1739, with ten four-line verses, rather than the longer eight-line verses with refrain which we have now.

The tune was composed by Felix Mendelssohn for his Festgesang, Op. 68.  It was scored for male voices with brass accompaniment, for the Gutenberg Festival in 1840 to celebrate the 400th anniversary of the invention of the printing press.  It was adapted into a hymn tune by William Hayman Cummings in 1856.

Hear Frank Sinatra sing at:  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0GWFdFqLKZ4

From “A Charlie Brown Christmas:”  https://youtu.be/wTu00FCLgPs?list=RDwTu00FCLgPs

“Go, Tell it on the Mountain” (VU #43)

“Go, tell it on the mountain, over the hills and everywhere.
Go, tell it on the mountain that Jesus Christ is born.

While shepherds kept their watching o’er silent flocks by night,
Behold, throughout the heavens there shone a holy light…

The shepherds feared and trembled when lo, above the earth
Rang out the angel chorus that hailed our Saviour’s birth!…

Down in a lonely manger the humble Christ was born,
And God sent our salvation that blessed Christmas morn…”

In 1907, John W. Works III, a professor at Fisk University and a professional musician, compiled and published Folk Songs of the American Negro, a songbook designed to preserve and promote African American Folk-Work. Included in this book was Works’ arrangement of the song Go Tell It on the Mountain (author unknown). This song was known to have been sung by African American slaves since as far back as at least 1865.

See Dolly Parton sing the carol in her classic Christmas special at:  https://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_embedded&v=3nPFUh4j2OM

Sing along with Starfield at:  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yGs0mJco9lk&feature=player_detailpage

 Will You Come and See The Light” (VU #96)

Will you travel by the light of the babe new born?
In the candle lit at night there’s a gleam of dawn,
And the darkness all about is too dim to put it out;
Will you hide, or decide to meet the light?”

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Categories: Notes on the Notes