Monday, January 2, 2012

Song Inspiration

Me being silly with my hymnal & camera.
Okay, so I spent some time debating what I'd post today. I had some ideas, but none seemed right. Then I visited my friend Hannah's blog and she posted about how she was comforted by a song at church this morning and I thought "That's it!"

Because I was also struck by a song we sang in church this morning.

I attend an Episcopalian church and we celebrate the twelve days of Christmas (does a happy dance, I love this) and so today is the 8th day of Christmas.  So we sang Christmas carols.  Which was excellent because I've not been in a chorus or choir of any sort since college, I missed our Bible Study's normal caroling jaunt (if they did it at all this year) and I love to sing Christmas carols. Since I wasn't able to go to church last weekend, this was my one shot.

So I happily sang "Joy to the World" and "Angels We Have Heard on High", but when we got to the song I'm about to elaborate on, I paused. I couldn't place this one. It didn't seem entirely alien, so I'd sung it before, but I didn't know it the way I knew the others.  But since it was somewhat familiar I didn't do that thing I sadly have to do many weeks where I'm so busy making sure I sing it right I don't absorb the lyrics.

So it was the perfect mix: new enough to me I couldn't sing by rote and familiar enough I wasn't struggling. And so I paid attention to every word. And I thoroughly enjoyed every word.  It really touched me and I found I was singing it prayerfully, the way hymns should be sung.

There's a website that has the hymns from my hymnal and I went there to get the lyrics to share with you... only to find, to my utter fascination that their lyrics differed! And I realized where I'd sung this hymn before. We used to sing it at Lessons and Carols at Converse. But the verses were different enough from my hymnal as to completely shift the way it affected me. Those lyrics (at Converse) seemed to be written to target children, stressing Christian children's required obedience, talking about Christ being little and weak as to relate to them... my hymnal has the same song shifted to relate to adults. It stresses the love between brothers and how Christ was scorned as rejected for us to relate to Him. Amazing.  Actually, the very changes are what really made it resonate with me in the hymnal. So even if you know the carol, read on, because you might know different lyrics, and these, for me, were powerful. I just love Christ so much (there's a video following the lyrics, so for the tune scroll down).

Once in royal David's city
stood a lowly cattle shed,
where a mother laid her baby
in a manger for his bed:
Mary was that mother mild,
Jesus Christ her little child.

He came down to earth from heaven,
who is God and Lord of all,
and his shelter was a stable,
and his cradle was a stall;
with the poor, the scorned, the lowly,
lived on earth our Savior holy.

We, like Mary, rest confounded
that a stable should display
heaven's Word, the world's creator
cradled there on Christmas Day
yet this child, our Lord and brother
brought us love for one another

For he is our lifelong pattern,
daily when on earth he grew;
he was tempted, scorned, rejected,
tears and smiles like us he knew.
Thus he feels for our sadness,
and he shares in all our gladness.

And our eyes at last shall see him,
through his own redeeming love;
for that Child who seemed so helpless
is our Lord in heaven above;
and he leads his children on
to the place where he is gone.

Not in that poor lowly stable,
with the oxen standing round,
we shall see him; but in heaven,
where his saints his throne surround:
Christ, revealed to faithful eye,
set at God's right hand on high.

Now, I have dial up so I can't watch this video or vouch for it, and I don't know which lyrics it used, but here's a youtube video of the song!


  1. Did you attend Converse College here in Spartanburg? If so...that is just wild. I went to Converse!!!!! I majored in Biology and Chemistry. I am from the class of 1998. Pink Panther. ;) Very cool if you did indeed go there, too. :)

    SO glad you loved the verse I shared today. :) It really is a great fit for your blog!

    Blessings to you! Happy New Year!


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