Sunday, 31 January 2010

4th Sunday of Ordinary Time

We hear in the Gospel today that Jesus did not get a very warm reception when he preached in the synagogue at Nazareth. Let us be sure that we listen carefully to what he has to say to us.

O Jesus, I have promised to serve Thee to the end;
Be Thou forever near me, my Master and my Friend;
I shall not fear the battle if Thou art by my side,
Nor wander from the pathway if Thou wilt be my Guide.

O let me feel Thee near me! The world is ever near;
I see the sights that dazzle, the tempting sounds I hear;
My foes are ever near me, around me and within;
But Jesus, draw Thou nearer, and shield my soul from sin.

O let me hear Thee speaking in accents clear and still,
Above the storms of passion, the murmurs of self will.
O speak to reassure me, to hasten or control;
O speak, and make me listen, Thou Guardian of my soul.

O Jesus, Thou hast promised to all who follow Thee
That where Thou art in glory there shall Thy servant be.
And Jesus, I have promised to serve Thee to the end;
O give me grace to follow, my Master and my Friend.

O let me see Thy footprints, and in them plant mine own;
My hope to follow duly is in Thy strength alone.
O guide me, call me, draw me, uphold me to the end;
And then in Heaven receive me, my Saviour and my Friend.

J E Bode (1816-1874)

Happy Sunday!

Saturday, 30 January 2010

Stirling Castle - 11

Although the Chapel was built and initially used for Catholic worship, Parliament issued an order in 1571 that the Chapel was to be purged and made suitable for Protestant worship. They sure were thorough!

Please click on the photo below for further details.

O God of earth and altar,
bow down and hear our cry,
our earthly rulers falter,
our people drift and die;
the walls of gold entomb us,
the swords of scorn divide,
take not thy thunder from us,
but take away our pride.

From all that terror teaches,
from lies of tongue and pen,
from all the easy speeches
that comfort cruel men,
from sale and profanation
of honour, and the sword,
from sleep and from damnation,
deliver us, good Lord!

Tie in a living tether
the prince and priest and thrall,
bind all our lives together,
smite us and save us all;
in ire and exultation
aflame with faith, and free,
lift up a living nation,
a single sword to thee.

Words: Gilbert Keith Chesterton, 1906

Friday, 29 January 2010

Stirling Castle - 10

Here we see the view of the Chapel taken looking towards the West End.

From glory to glory advancing, we praise thee, O Lord;
thy name with the Father and Spirit be ever adored.
From strength unto strength we go forward on Zion's highway,
to appear before God in the city of infinite day.

Thanksgiving, and glory and worship, and blessing and love,
one heart and one song have the saints upon earth and above.
Evermore, O Lord, to thy servants thy presence be nigh;
ever fit us by service on earth for thy service on high.

Words: Liturgy of Saint James;
trans. Charles William Humphreys, 1906

Splendid words to be sung as a Post Communion Hymn.

Thursday, 28 January 2010

Stirling Castle - 9

Here is the view of the Chapel Royal taken from the West End. The Chapel has been restored with no expense spared.

Lo, God is here! let us adore,
and own how dreadful is this place!
Let all within us feel his power,
and silent bow before his face:
who know his power, his grace who prove,
serve him with awe, with reverence love.

Lo, God is here! him day and night
united choirs of angels sing;
to him, enthroned above all height,
heaven's host their noblest praises bring.
Disdain not, Lord, our meaner song,
who praise thee with a stammering tongue.

Almighty Lord, may this our praise
thy courts with grateful fragrance fill
still may we stand before thy face,
still hear and do thy sovereign will;
to thee may all our thoughts arise,
ceaseless, accepted sacrifice.

Words: Gerhard Tersteegen, 1729
Trans. John Wesley, 1739

Wednesday, 27 January 2010

Stirling Castle - 8

The words 'noble simplicity' spring to mind when we look at the Sanctuary of the Chapel Royal. However, note one modern touch - a state of the art PA system. No excuse for falling asleep during the sermon here! The Great Hall is clearly visible through the plain glass windows.

We love the place, O God,
Wherein Thine honour dwells;
The joy of Thine abode
All earthly joy excels.

It is the house of prayer
Wherein Thy servants meet;
And Thou, O Lord, art there
Thy chosen flock to greet.

We love the sacred font;
For there the holy Dove
To pour is ever wont
His blessings from above.

We love Thine altar, Lord;
Oh, what on earth so dear?
For there, in faith adored
We find Thy presence near.

We love the Word of life,
The Word that tells of peace,
Of comfort in the strife,
And joys that never cease.

We love to sing below
For mercies freely giv’n;
But, oh, we long to know
The triumph song of Heav’n.

Lord Jesus, give us grace
On earth to love Thee more,
In Heav’n to see Thy face,
And with Thy saints adore.

W Bullock (1798-1874) and Sir H W Baker (1821-1877)

Tuesday, 26 January 2010

Stirling Castle - 7

We were last at Stirling Castle on Saturday 28 November 2009.

Today we are standing outside the Chapel Royal, which was built in 1594 by King James VI for the baptism of his son, Prince Henry.

In token that thou shalt not fear
Christ crucified to own,
we print the cross upon thee here,
and stamp thee his alone.

In token that thou shalt not blush
to glory in his Name,
we blazon here upon thy front
his glory and his shame.

In token that thou shalt not flinch
Christ's quarrel to maintain,
but 'neath his banner manfully
firm at thy post remain.

In token that thou too shalt tread
the path he traveled by,
endure the cross, despise the shame,
and sit thee down on high.

Thus outwardly and visibly
we seal thee for his own;
and may the brow that wears his cross
hereafter share his crown.

Words: Henry Alford, 1832

Monday, 25 January 2010

Christian Unity Week - 8

Today we celebrate the Feast of the Conversion of St Paul - so we have a photo of St Paul's Cathedral (Church of England) in London - not exactly Scotland!

However, today is also Burn's Night - so we also have a photo of some haggis - 100% Scottish!

Note in addition, the potatoes from Northern Ireland, the Guinness from Dublin, the mushy peas from Yorkshire, and the HP Sauce from London!

Join hands, then, members of the faith,
Whatever your race may be!
Who serves my Father as His child
Is surely kin to me.

In Christ now meet both East and West,
In Him meet North and South;
All Christian folk are one in Him
Throughout the whole wide earth.

Happy Feast!

Tomorrow, we are returning to Stirling Castle.

Sunday, 24 January 2010

Christian Unity Week - 7

Here we see St Andrew's Episcopal Cathedral in Aberdeen.

In Christ there is no East or West,
In Him no South or North;
But one great fellowship of love
Throughout the whole wide earth.

In Him shall true hearts everywhere
Their high communion find;
His service is the golden cord,
Close binding humankind.

Happy Sunday!

Saturday, 23 January 2010

Christian Unity Week - 6

Here we see St Mary's Cathedral in Aberdeen - Roman Catholic.

Thy mercy will not fail us,
nor leave thy work undone;
with thy right hand to help us,
thy victory shall be won;
and then, by all creation,
thy name shall be adored,
and this shall be their anthem:
one Church, one Faith, one Lord.

Friday, 22 January 2010

Christian Unity Week - 5

Here we see St Machar's Cathedral in Aberdeen - Church of Scotland.

And we, shall we be faithless?
shall hearts fail, hands hang down?
shall we evade the conflict,
and cast away our crown?
Not so: in God's deep counsels
some better thing is stored;
we will maintain, unflinching,
one Church, one Faith, one Lord.

These words bring back happy memories of my days at All Saints' Margaret Street, London (Church of England). The first four lines of this verse were always accompanied with a very weedy registration on the the organ - then at line 5 nearly all the stops came out - with the solo tuba adding to the confident reply in lines 7 and 8. It was marvellous!

Thursday, 21 January 2010

Christian Unity Week - 4

Here we see the inside of Glasgow Cathedral - Church of Scotland.

Through many a day of darkness,
through many a scene of strife,
the faithful few fought bravely,
to guard the nation's life.
Their gospel of redemption,
sin pardoned, man restored,
was all in this enfolded:
one Church, one Faith, one Lord.

I love the tongue-twister in the third line!

Wednesday, 20 January 2010

Christian Unity Week - 3

Here we see St Mary's Roman Catholic Cathedral in Edinburgh.

When shadows thick were falling,
and all seemed sunk in night,
thou, Lord, didst send thy servants,
thy chosen sons of light.
On them and on thy people
thy plenteous grace was poured,
and this was still their message,
one Church, one Faith, one Lord.

Tuesday, 19 January 2010

Christian Unity Week - 2

Here we see St Mary's Episcopal (Anglican) Cathedral in Edinburgh - what a magnificent building.

Thy heralds brought glad tidings
to greatest as to least;
they bade men rise, and hasten
to share the great King's feast;
and this was all their teaching,
in every deed and word,
to all alike proclaiming
one Church, one Faith, one Lord.

Monday, 18 January 2010

Christian Unity Week - 1

During this week, as we pray for Christian Unity, I shall feature some Scottish Cathedrals.

Today we have St Giles' Cathedral in Edinburgh. This building belongs to the Church of Scotland.

Thy hand, O God, has guided
thy flock, from age to age;
the wondrous tale is written,
full clear, on every page;
our fathers owned thy goodness,
and we their deeds record;
and both of this bear witness;
one Church, one Faith, one Lord.

E H Plumtre (1821-1891)

Sunday, 17 January 2010

Christmas Carols - 24

A great and mighty wonder, a full and holy cure:
The virgin bears the Infant with virgin honour pure!
Repeat the hymn again: “To God on high be glory
And peace on earth to men!”

The Word becomes incarnate and yet remains on high,
And cherubim sing anthems to shepherds from the sky.
Repeat the hymn again: “To God on high be glory
And peace on earth to men!”

While thus they sing your Monarch, those bright angelic bands,
Rejoice, ye vales and mountains, ye oceans, clap your hands.
Repeat the hymn again: “To God on high be glory
And peace on earth to men!”

Since all He comes to ransom, by all be He adored,
The Infant born in Bethl’em, the Saviour and the Lord.
Repeat the hymn again: “To God on high be glory
And peace on earth to men!”

And idol forms shall perish, and error shall decay,
And Christ shall wield His sceptre, our Lord and God for aye.
Repeat the hymn again: “To God on high be glory
And peace on earth to men!”

St Germanus (634-734) - translated by J M Neale

Tomorrow sees the start of a new series of posts for the Week of Prayer for Christian Unity.

Happy Sunday!

Saturday, 16 January 2010

Christmas Carols - 23

Ding dong! merrily on high
In heav'n the bells are ringing:
Ding dong! verily the sky
Is riv'n with Angel singing.
Hosanna in excelsis!

E'en so here below, below,
Let steeple bells be swungen,
And "Io, io, io!"
By priest and people sungen.

Pray you, dutifully prime
Your matin chime, ye ringers;
May you beautifully rime
Your evetime song, ye singers.

George Woodward (1848-1934)

Friday, 15 January 2010

Christmas Carols - 22

The great God of heaven is come down to earth,
his mother a Virgin and sinless his birth;
the Father eternal his Father alone:
he sleeps in a manger; he reigns on the throne:
Then let us adore him and praise his great love:
to save us poor sinners he came from above.

A Babe on the breast of a Maiden he lies,
yet sits with the Father on high in the skies;
before him their faces the Seraphim hide,
while Joseph stands waiting, unscared, by his side: Refrain

Lo! here is Emmanuel, here is the Child,
the Son that was promised to Mary so mild;
whose power and dominion shall ever increase,
the Prince that shall rule o'er a kingdom of peace: Refrain

The Wonderful Counselor, boundless in might,
the Father's own image, the beam of his light;
behold him now wearing the likeness of man,
weak, helpless and speechless, in measure a span: Refrain

O wonder of wonders, which none can unfold:
the Ancient of days is an hour or two old;
the Maker of all things is made of the earth,
man is worshiped by angels and God comes to birth: Refrain

The Word in the bliss of the Godhead remains,
yet in flesh comes to suffer the keenest of pains;
he is that he was and for ever shall be,
but becomes that he was not, for you and for me. Refrain

Henry Ramsden Bramley (1833-1917)

Thursday, 14 January 2010

Christmas Carols - 21

Brightest and best of the sons of the morning,
dawn on our darkness, and lend us thine aid;
star of the east, the horizon adorning,
guide where our infant Redeemer is laid.

Cold on his cradle the dewdrops are shining,
low lies his head with the beasts of the stall;
angels adore him in slumber reclining,
Maker and Monarch and Saviour of all.

Shall we then yield him, in costly devotion,
odors of Edom, and offerings divine,
gems of the mountain, and pearls of the ocean,
myrrh from the forest, and gold from the mine?

Vainly we offer each ample oblation,
vainly with gifts would his favour secure,
richer by far is the heart's adoration,
dearer to God are the prayers of the poor.

Brightest and best of the sons of the morning,
dawn on our darkness, and lend us thine aid;
star of the east, the horizon adorning,
guide where our infant Redeemer is laid.

Bishop R Heber (1783-1826) - note his relatively short life and this early appointment as a bishop. His memory lives on in this glorious Epiphany hymn.

Wednesday, 13 January 2010

Christmas Carols - 20

As with gladness, men of old
Did the guiding star behold
As with joy they hailed its light
Leading onward, beaming bright
So, most glorious Lord, may we
Evermore be led to Thee.

As with joyful steps they sped
To that lowly manger bed
There to bend the knee before
Him Whom Heaven and earth adore;
So may we with willing feet
Ever seek Thy mercy seat.

As they offered gifts most rare
At that manger rude and bare;
So may we with holy joy,
Pure and free from sin’s alloy,
All our costliest treasures bring,
Christ, to Thee, our heavenly King.

Holy Jesus, every day
Keep us in the narrow way;
And, when earthly things are past,
Bring our ransomed souls at last
Where they need no star to guide,
Where no clouds Thy glory hide.

In the heavenly country bright,
Need they no created light;
Thou its Light, its Joy, its Crown,
Thou its Sun which goes not down;
There forever may we sing
Alleluias to our King!

W Chatterton Dix (1837-1898)

Tuesday, 12 January 2010

Christmas Carols - 19

Bethlehem, of noblest cities
none can once with thee compare;
thou alone the Lord from heaven
didst for us incarnate bear.

Fairer than the sun at morning
was the star that told his birth;
to the lands their God announcing,
seen in fleshly form on earth.

By its lambent beauty guided
see the eastern kings appear;
see them bend, their gifts to offer,
gifts of incense, gold and myrrh.

Solemn things of mystic meaning:
incense doth the God disclose,
gold a royal child proclaimeth,
myrrh a future tomb foreshows.

Holy Jesus, in thy brightness
to the Gentile world displayed,
with the Father and the Spirit
endless praise to thee be paid.

Prudentius (b.348) Translated by E Caswall(1841-1878)

Monday, 11 January 2010

Christmas Carols - 18

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 Saviour holy.

And, through all His wondrous childhood,
He would honour and obey,
Love and watch the lowly maiden,
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 knew;
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 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 by,
We shall see Him; but in Heaven,
Set at God’s right hand on high;
Where like stars His children crowned
All in white shall wait around.

Mrs C F Alexander (1815-1895) - one of my favourite hymn writers!

Sunday, 10 January 2010

Christmas Carols - 17

Behold the great Creator makes
himself a house of clay,
a robe of virgin flesh he takes
which he will wear for ay.

Hark, hark, the wise eternal Word,
like a weak infant cries!
In form of servant is the Lord,
and God in cradle lies.

This wonder struck the world amazed,
it shook the starry frame;
squadrons of spirits stood and gazed,
then down in troops they came.

Glad shepherds ran to view this sight;
a choir of angels sings,
and eastern sages with delight
adore this King of kings.

Join then all hearts that are not stone,
and all our voices prove,
to celebrate this holy One,
the God of peace and love.

T Pestel (1584-1659)

Happy Sunday!

Saturday, 9 January 2010

Christmas Carols - 16

Of the Father's heart begotten,
Ere the world from chaos rose,
He is Alpha, from that Fountain
All that is and has been flows;
He is Omega, of all things,
Yet to come the distant Close,
Evermore and evermore.

By His word was all created
He commanded and 'twas done;
Earth and sky and boundless ocean,
Universe of three in one,
All that sees the moon's soft radiance,
All that breathes beneath the sun,
Evermore and evermore.

He assumed this mortal body,
Frail and feeble, doomed to die,
That the race from dust created,
Might not perish utterly,
Which the dreadful Law had sentenced
In the depths of hell to lie,
Evermore and evermore.

O how blest that wondrous birthday,
When the Maid the curse retrieved,
Brought to birth mankind's salvation
By the Holy Ghost conceived,
And the Babe, the world's Redeemer
In her loving arms received,
Evermore and evermore.

Sing, ye heights of heaven, his praises;
Angels and Archangels, sing!
Wheresoe’er ye be, ye faithful,
Let your joyous anthems ring,
Every tongue his name confessing,
Countless voices answering,
Evermore and evermore.

Translation of Corde natus ex parentis by Prudentius b. 348

Friday, 8 January 2010

Christmas Carols - 15

See amid the winter's snow,
born for us on earth below,
see, the gentle Lamb appears,
promised from eternal years.
Hail that ever blessèd morn,
hail redemption's happy dawn,
sing through all Jerusalem:
Christ is born in Bethlehem.

Lo, within a manger lies
he who built the starry skies;
he who, thronèd in height sublime,
sits amid the cherubim. Refrain

Say, ye holy shepherds, say,
what your joyful news today.
wherefore have ye left your sheep
on the lonely mountain steep? Refrain

"As we watched at dead of night,
lo, we saw a wondrous light;
angels singing 'Peace on earth'
told us of the Saviour's birth." Refrain

Sacred Infant, all divine,
what a tender love was thine,
thus to come from highest bliss
down to such a world as this. Refrain

Teach, O teach us, holy Child,
by thy face so meek and mild,
teach us to resemble thee,
in thy sweet humility. Refrain

Edward Caswall (1814-1878)

Thursday, 7 January 2010

Christmas Carols - 14

The view from my front door on Sunday morning!

In the bleak midwinter, frosty wind made moan,
Earth stood hard as iron, water like a stone;
Snow had fallen, snow on snow, snow on snow,
In the bleak midwinter, long ago.

Our God, Heaven cannot hold Him, nor earth sustain;
Heaven and earth shall flee away when He comes to reign.
In the bleak midwinter a stable place sufficed
The Lord God Almighty, Jesus Christ.

Enough for Him, whom cherubim, worship night and day,
A breastful of milk, and a mangerful of hay;
Enough for Him, whom angels fall before,
The ox and ass and camel which adore.

Angels and archangels may have gathered there,
Cherubim and seraphim thronged the air;
But only His mother, in her maiden bliss,
Worshipped the beloved with a kiss.

What can I give Him, poor as I am?
If I were a shepherd, I would bring a lamb;
If I were a Wise Man, I would do my part;
Yet what I can I give Him: give my heart.

Christina Rossetti (1830-1894)

Wednesday, 6 January 2010

Christmas Carols - 13

We three kings of Orient are;
Bearing gifts we traverse afar,
Field and fountain, moor and mountain,
Following yonder star.


O star of wonder, star of light,
Star with royal beauty bright,
Westward leading, still proceeding,
Guide us to thy perfect light.

Born a King on Bethlehem’s plain
Gold I bring to crown Him again,
King forever, ceasing never,
Over us all to reign.


Frankincense to offer have I;
Incense owns a Deity nigh;
Prayer and praising, voices raising,
Worshipping God on high.


Myrrh is mine, its bitter perfume
Breathes a life of gathering gloom;
Sorrowing, sighing, bleeding, dying,
Sealed in the stone cold tomb.


Glorious now behold Him arise;
King and God and sacrifice;
Alleluia, Alleluia,
Sounds through the earth and skies.


Words & Music: John H. Hopkins, Jr., 1857. Hopkins wrote this carol for a Christmas pageant at the General Theological Seminary in New York City.

Tuesday, 5 January 2010

Christmas Carols - 12

Let sighing cease and woe
God from on high hath heard,
heaven's gate is opening wide, and lo!
the long expected Word.

Peace! through the deep of night
the heavenly choir breaks forth,
singing, with festal songs and bright,
our God and Saviour's birth.

The cave of Bethlehem
those wakeful shepherds seek;
let us too rise and greet with them
that infant pure and meek.

We enter at the door
what marvel meets the eye?
A crib, a mother pale and poor,
a child of poverty.

Art thou the eternal Son,
the eternal Father's ray?
whose little hand, thou infant one,
doth lift the world alway?

Yea faith through that dim cloud,
like lightning darts before,
and greets thee, at whose footstool bowed
heaven's trembling hosts adore.

Chaste be our love like thine,
our swelling souls bring low,
and in our hearts, O Babe divine
be born, abide and grow.

So shall thy birthday morn,
Lord Christ, our birthday be,
then greet we all, ourselves newborn,
our King's nativity.

Charles Coffin (1676-1749)

Monday, 4 January 2010

Christmas Carols - 11

While shepherds watched their flocks by night,
All seated on the ground,
The angel of the Lord came down,
And glory shone around.

“Fear not!” said he, for mighty dread
Had seized their troubled mind.
“Glad tidings of great joy I bring
To you and all mankind.

“To you, in David’s town, this day
Is born of David’s line
A Saviour, who is Christ the Lord,
And this shall be the sign.

“The heavenly Babe you there shall find
To human view displayed,
All meanly wrapped in swathing bands,
And in a manger laid.”

Thus spake the seraph and forthwith
Appeared a shining throng
Of angels praising God on high,
Who thus addressed their song:

“All glory be to God on high,
And to the Earth be peace;
Good will henceforth from Heaven to men
Begin and never cease!”

Nahum Tate (1652-1715)

Sunday, 3 January 2010

Christmas Carols - 10

O come, all ye faithful,
Joyful and triumphant,
O come ye, O come ye, to Bethlehem.
Come and behold Him,
Born the King of angels;

O come, let us adore Him,
O come, let us adore Him,
O come, let us adore Him,
Christ the Lord.

God of God,
Light of Light,
Lo, He abhors not the Virgin’s womb;
Very God,
Begotten not created;


See how the shepherds,
Summoned to His cradle,
Leaving their flocks, draw nigh to gaze;
We too will thither
Bend our joyful footsteps;


Lo! star-led chieftains,
Magi, Christ adoring,
Offer Him incense, gold, and myrrh;
We to the Christ Child
Bring our hearts’ oblations.


Child, for us sinners
Poor and in the manger,
We would embrace Thee, with love and awe;
Who would not love Thee,
Loving us so dearly?


Sing, choirs of angels,
Sing in exultation;
Sing, all ye citizens of heaven above!
Glory to God
In the highest;


Yea, Lord, we greet Thee,
Born this happy morning;
Jesus, to Thee be glory given;
Word of the Father,
Now in flesh appearing.


Adeste, fideles - Translated by F Oakley (1802-1880)

Happy Sunday!

Saturday, 2 January 2010

Christmas Carols - 9

O little town of Bethlehem,
How still we see thee lie!
Above thy deep and dreamless sleep
The silent stars go by.
Yet in thy dark streets shineth
The everlasting Light;
The hopes and fears of all the years
Are met in thee to-night.

O morning stars, together
Proclaim the holy birth!
And praises sing to God the King,
And peace to men on earth.
For Christ is born of Mary
And gathered all above,
While mortals sleep the angels keep
Their watch of wondering love.

How silently, how silently,
The wondrous gift is given!
So God imparts to human hearts
The blessings of His Heaven.
No ear may hear His coming;
But in this world of sin,
Where meek souls will receive Him, still
The dear Christ enters in.

Where children pure and happy
Pray to the blessed Child,
Where Misery cries out to Thee,
Son of the Mother mild;
Where Charity stands watching,
And Faith holds wide the door,
The dark night wakes, the glory breaks,
And Christmas comes once more.

O holy Child of Bethlehem!
Descend to us we pray!
Cast out our sin and enter in,
Be born in us to-day.
We hear the Christmas angels
The great glad tidings tell;
O, come to us, abide with us,
Our Lord Emmanuel!

Bishop Phillips Brooks (1835-1893)

Friday, 1 January 2010

Christmas Carols - 8

Christians, awake, salute the happy morn
Whereon the Saviour of the world was born.
Rise to adore the mystery of love
Which hosts of angels chanted from above,
With them the joyful tidings first begun
Of God incarnate and the virgin’s Son.

Then to the watchful shepherds it was told,
Who heard th’angelic herald’s voice, “Behold,
I bring good tidings of a Saviour’s birth
To you and all the nations of the earth;
This day hath God fulfilled His promised Word;
This day is born a Saviour, Christ the Lord.”

He spoke; and straightaway the celestial choir
In hymns of joy, unknown before, conspire;
The praises of redeeming love they sang,
And Heav’n’s whole orb with alleluias rang.
God’s highest glory was their anthem still,
Peace on the earth and unto men good will.

To Bethl’hem straight th’enlightened shepherds ran
To see the wonder God had wrought for man
And found, with Joseph and the blessèd maid,
Her Son, the Saviour, in a manger laid;
Then to their flocks, still praising God, return,
And their glad hearts with holy rapture burn.

Like Mary let us ponder in our mind
God’s wondrous love in saving lost mankind!
Trace we the Babe, who hath retrieved our loss,
From His poor manger to His bitter cross,
Tread in His steps, assisted by His grace,
Till man’s first heav’nly state again takes place.

Then may we hope, th’angelic hosts among,
To sing, redeemed, a glad triumphal song.
He that was born upon this joyful day
Around us all His glory shall display.
Saved by His love, incessantly we sing
Eternal praise to Heav’n’s almighty King.

John Byrom (1692-1763)

A Guid New Year to ane an' a'