Notes on the Notes – December 29, 2013
This week’s readings: Isaiah 63:7-9, Hebrews 2: 10-18
This week’s music:
“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!”
Learn about the history of this carol at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PSqFiEILs9o
“Joy is Now in Every Place” (VU #45) –
“Joy is now in every place, Christmas lightens every face; now be with us, in your grace, O hear us, bless us, holy Jesus.
May the star that shone that night, making your poor stable bright, fill our hearts with love and light, O hear us, bless us, holy Jesus.
Through the New Year let it stay, leading us upon your way, making Christmas every day, O hear us, bless us, holy Jesus.
According to the Canadian Youth Hymnal (1939), the source of this carol was Child Education, December 1929, although the author of the words is unknown. The German carol tune was used in medieval mystery plays about the nativity where it was associated with the carol “Joseph lieber, Joseph mein.” Learn more about mystery plays at http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mystery_play .
Hear the original carol sung in German at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=f0fnBQ0_ds0
“The Race That Long in Darkness Pined” (VU #879) –
“The race that long in darkness pined have seen a glorious light; the people dwell in day, who dwelt in death’s surrounding night…”
This hymn is a paraphrase of Isaiah 9:2-8. John Morison, a Church of Scotland minister at Canisbay, Caithness, was a member of the revision committee for the Scottish Paraphrases of 1781. He contributed a number of new texts to the revised collection. The melody, DUNFERMLINE, was first published in Scotland in 1615. It was one of twelve common tunes in that collection not assigned to a specific text.
“Angels, From the Realms of Glory” (VU #36) –
“Angels from the realms of glory, wing your flight o’er all the earth; ye who sang creation’s story now proclaim Messiah’s birth: come and worship, come and worship, worship Christ, the newborn King.”
Lyricist James Montgomery, first published ‘Angels From the Realms of Glory’ as a poem in the newspaper he ran in London, England. Montgomery said he felt inspired to write the words to it quickly on December 24, 1816 after reading the Bible’s account of the first Christmas. The words flowed easily as Montgomery reflected on the angels’ announcement of Jesus Christ’s birth. That evening (Christmas Eve), he published the words as a poem in the newspaper he owned in London, England, The Sheffield Iris.
Much later, in 1867, composer and organist Henry Smart set Montgomery’s words to music that he had previously written for a song he called ‘Regent Square’ (named after Regent Square Presbyterian Church in London, England) and named the new song ‘Angels From the Realms of Glory’.
Hear an organ, brass quintet, and percussion version played at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7RCGpYEV-9w
“Take up his song of love, and go into the world.
Take up his song of love in ev’ry moment.
In ev’ry moment of the journey, we’re laying down our lives;
lay them down, in love, lay them down, and take up his song.”