Christmas Song N° 8

Here’s a carol I’d forgotten about, until I saw it suggested on a resources-for-church page, suggesting it as a possible song for yesterday. It is a song that I love, but which isn’t really sung that often.  It is an ancient hymn, originally written by the Roman poet Aurelius Prudentius in 348. It reminds us not so much of the humility and impoverished beginnings of Christ’s life, as many carols do, but rather the glory and the praise that will be when he comes to reign.

So here is a hauntingly beautiful rendition, followed by a rather joyous Celtic-inspired instrumental version

Of the Father’s love begotten

Ere the worlds began to be

He is Alpha and Omega,

He the Source, the Ending He

Of the things that are, that have been

And that future years shall see

Evermore and evermore

 

O ye heights of heaven, adore Him

Angel hosts, His praises sing

Powers, dominions, bow before Him

And extol our God and King

Let no tongue on earth be silent

Every voice in concert ring

Evermore and evermore

 

This is He whom Heaven-taught singers

Sang of old with one accord

Whom the Scriptures of the prophets

Promised in their faithful word

. Now He shines, the Long-expected

Let creation praise its Lord

Evermore and evermore

 

 

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Christmas Song N°7

This is one of my favourite carols, sung by the choir at Winchester Cathedral. As I was at Teacher Training College in Winchester it seemed a suitable version! Sadly, in this world today, the words seem so apt, reminding us that, so often we block our ears to the call of God.

It came upon the midnight clear,
That glorious song of old,
From angels bending near the earth,
To touch their harps of gold:
‘Peace on the earth, good will to men, ‘
From heav’n’s all-gracious King.
The world in solemn stillness lay,
To hear the angels sing!
Yet with the woes of sin and strife
The world has suffered long,
Beneath the angel strain have rolled
Two thousand years of wrong;
And man, at war with man, hears not
The love song which they bring:
O hush the noise, ye men of strife,
And hear the angels sing!
Still thro’ the cloven skies they come,
With peaceful wings unfurl’d;
And still their heav’nly music floats
O’er all the weary world:
Above its sad and lowly plains
They bend on hov’ring wing,
And ever o’er its Babel sounds
The blessed angels sing.
All ye, beneath life’s crushing load,
Whose forms are bending low,
Who toil along the climbing way
With painful steps and slow,
Look, now! for glad and golden hours
Come swiftly on the wing:
O rest beside the weary road,
And hear the angels sing!
For lo! the days are hast’ning on,
By prophet bards foretold,
When with the ever-circling years
Comes round the age of gold;
When peace shall over all the earth
Its ancient splendors fling,
And the whole world give back the song
Which now the angels sing!

Christmas Song N° 5

Another haunting carol…first in the more well known form, and then in another interpretation, using Huron, French & English (I really like this version!).

 

Twas in the moon of wintertime when all the birds had fled
That mighty Gitchi Manitou sent angel choirs instead
Before their light the stars grew dim
And wandering hunters heard the hymn,

Jesus your King is born
Jesus is born, in excelsis gloria.

Within a lodge of broken bark the tender babe was found
A ragged robe of rabbit skin enwrapped his beauty round
But as the hunter braves drew nigh
The angel song rang loud and high

The earliest moon of wintertime is not so round and fair
As was the ring of glory on the helpless infant there
The chiefs from far before him knelt
With gifts of fox and beaver pelt

O children of the forest free, O sons of Manitou
The Holy Child of earth and heaven is born today for you.
Come kneel before the radiant boy
Who brings you beauty peace and joy

Here’s a link to the Wiki page, if you’d like to read more.

Christmas song N° 4

I love this carol – it takes me back to my school days, as we always used to sing this at the Carol service. It is so much nicer than the slightly hackneyed “We Three Kings…”

1. Three Kings from Persian lands afar
To Jordan follow the pointing star:
And this the quest of the travellers three,
Where the new-born King of the Jews may be.
Full royal gifts they bear for the King;
Gold, incense, myrrh are their offering.

How brightly shines the morning star!
With grace and truth from heaven afar
Our Jesse tree now bloweth. 

2. The star shines out with a steadfast ray;
The kings to Bethlehem make their way,
And there in worship they bend the knee,
As Mary’s child in her lap they see;
Their royal gifts they show to the King;
Gold, incense, myrrh are their offering.

Of Jacob’s stem and David’s line,
For thee, my Bridegroom, King divine,
My soul with love o’erfloweth.

3. Thou child of man, lo, to Bethlehem
The Kings are travelling, travel with them!
The star of mercy, the star of grace,
Shall lead thy heart to its resting place.
Gold, incense, myrrh thou canst not bring;
Offer thy heart to the infant King.

Thy word, Jesu, Inly feeds us,
Rightly leads us, Life bestowing. 
Praise, O praise such love o’erflowing.

Christmas Song N°3

This one is one of my absolute favourite Christmas songs – whenever I hear this, I always feel ready for Christmas!!

 

Now the season, now the question
Time to breathe a moment’s grace
For the hunter and the hunted
Taking time to break the pace
Are you hopeful? Are you haunted?
By the ghost of Christmas past
Face the future undaunted
Step aside or take your chance
Run with the fox into the wind
On to the dawn of tomorrow
Run with the fox into the wild
Into the wild and the cold
Beware of the rocks and be prepared
Prepare for love comes and goes
Run with the fox
Every year the revolution
Won or lost before begun
While we thrive on mass confusion
Thus we walk before we run
Run with the for in to the wind
On to the dawn of tomorrow
Run with the fox into the wild
Into the wild and the cold
Beware of the rocks and be prepared
Prepare for love finally grows

Let us live to tell a story
Here on Earth and out in Space
Forward on the road to glory
History records the chase
Have yourselves that certain Christmas
Eat be glad and drink the wine
Leave your sadness by the river
Giving love and given time
Across the ice of frozen lakes
Run with the fox
Along the lanes a lover takes
Run with the fox
Beneath a moon, a Christmas moon
Run with the fox
And sing a tune a dreamer’s tune
Run with the fox
Across the bridge of many ways
Run with the fox
On to the planes where dreamers play
Run with the fox
Beneath a moon a Christmas moon
Run with the fox