Thursday, December 20, 2007
One of my top ten!
For the next ten days I'm going to list one of my top ten traditional Christmas Carols and tell a little of the composer, the era when written and how it speaks to me, etc. I'm going to resist the temptation to assign any listing of one over another, but will just say these are my top 10.
Once in Royal David's City, Cecil Frances Alexander 1818-1895. She wote a series of hymns to teach children about the Apostles Creed. She also a a knack for taking major biblical themes and boiling then into four or six simple lines. This carol is so complex, yet simple and beautiful that I can't just list one stanza. Music by Henry J Guantlett. An exceptionally gifted organist, Gauntlett was well known in 19th Century English music circles. He was also, in turn, lawyer, author, organ designer, and organ recitalist. Some say he wrote over 10,000 hymns during his lifetime. He is considered the "Father of Church Music".
"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, and mean and lowly. Lived on earth, our Savior holy.
And through all His wondrous childhood. He would honor and obey. Love, and watch the lowly mother. In whose gentle arms He lay. Christian children all must be. Mild, obedient, good as He.
For He is our childhood's pattern. Day by day like us He grew. He was little, weak and helpless; Tears and smiles like us He know; And He feeleth for our sadness, and He shareth in our gladness.
And our eyes at last shall see Him, Through His own redeeming love; For that child so dear and gentle. Is our Lord in heav'n above; And He leads His chidren 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, Set at God's right hand on high. When, like stars, His children crowned, All in white shall wait around.