From Faith McDonnell at Juicy Ecumenism:
For many years it was the tradition for Salvation Army band members to get up at the crack of dawn on Christmas Day and wake the town with the Christmas song “Christians Awake, Salute the Happy Morn.”
Here is Salvation Army officer Major Alan Young playing it on his cornet for the village of Pill in North Somerset, England…
Christians, awake, salute the happy morn,
whereon the Savior of the world was born;
rise to adore the mystery of love,
which hosts of angels chanted from above;
with them the joyful tidings were begun
of God incarnate and the Virgin’s son. . . .
Oh, may we keep and 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 heavenly state again takes place.
Then may we hope, th’angelic throngs 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, incessant we shall sing
eternal praise to heav’n’s almighty King.”
Over the last couple of days I drove up the east coast from Georgia to Rhode Island. I have always enjoyed driving trips and I do not mind at all being alone in the car. I especially enjoy the time to just think, listen to music, and let my mind wander without interruption. Sounds pretty self centered, and I admit it is.
This trip was lovely. I was ready to leave the becoming hot and humid Deep South. When I arrived in North Carolina I enjoyed their wildflower plantings, first gloriosa daisies, then poppies, and finally lupines…all lovely. I do love Virginia, but what you see along interstate 95 is not the prettiest part. I did enjoy a few farm scenes, and then, especially loved passing near to the Stonewall Jackson shrine, which I have visited in the past. By the time I approached Washington D.C. the traffic had intensified (not unusual, even for a Saturday) and it was stop and go for a long time. But then I had a gift….on the bridge where the views over to the shrines and capitol are clearest I was the only vehicle in sight so I had the pleasure of looking around and enjoying the views without worrying about hitting a car. It really was a gift because I love those monuments and buildings.
This morning, through much of New Jersey I witnessed a beautiful, peaceful overcast sky that just couldn’t hide the splendor of the sun which highlighted the clouds and sprayed incredible rays over the entire landscape…for miles and miles I saw it. New York City was a delight too…by the time I was in Elizabeth, NJ. And it continued over the GW bridge. Then when I got to Fairfield, CT I had a wonderful surprise…wisteria….twice!! So much beauty in a lot of places.
This morning I listened to the Elvis radio channel for a while, which I rarely do any more. They played a couple of his more religious songs, “How Great Thou Art” and “An Evening Prayer.” I thought about how main stream it was to sing things like that in the early 1970s. Today it is not generally socially acceptable to talk about the magnificence of God and how we need forgiveness ….subjects of those songs. It made me sad because when we lose our understanding of how far above us our God is we also lose our felt need to be forgiven. Then we are lost. But I am very thankful for a special trip that felt like a personal gift from someone who loves me.
Bread of the world, in mercy broken!
Wine of the soul, in mercy shed!
By whom the words of life were spoken,
And in whose death our sins are dead!
Look on the heart by sorrow broken,
Look on the tears by sinners shed,
And be thy feast to us the token
That by thy grace our souls are fed!
I heard the voice of Jesus say,
“Come unto Me and rest;
Lay down, thou weary one, lay down,
Thy head upon My breast.”
I came to Jesus as I was,
Weary and worn and sad;
I found in Him a resting-place,
And He has made me glad.
Here are the other verses, not here included:
I heard the voice of Jesus say,
“Behold, I freely give
The living water; thirsty one,
Stoop down and drink and live.”
I came to Jesus, and I drank
Of that life-giving stream.
My thirst was quenched, my soul revived,
And now I live in Him.
3. I heard the voice of Jesus say,
“I am this dark world’s Light.
Look unto Me; thy morn shall rise
And all thy day be bright.”
I looked to Jesus, and I found
In Him my Star, my Sun;
And in that Light of Life I’ll walk
Till traveling days are done.
My six member choir plans to sing this beautiful choral praise in worship this coming week. Google’s definition of Alleluia:
Hallelujah is an Anglicization of Hebrew for “praise the Lord”, where hallel is the verb “to praise, and “Lord” represents the tetragrammaton name of God, whose initial syllable is something like “yah”. … Latin made that alleluia, and English got it from the Christian missionaries from Rome.
This is one song I really feel privileged to sing.
I am still reading A Good Old Age, which I have mentioned before here. From the chapter “U is for Understanding” :
One of the benefits of old age ought to be increased wisdom and understanding. But that is not true to experience because life can be a record of failures, mistakes and the sorrow they have brought. But thank God that even through these sadnesses we may have learned important lessons that we can share with others.
Some of the things Pastor Prime thinks we should understand:
Understand that, old as we are, we should still be growing in the grace and knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ.
Understand that the Scriptures are to be our unfailing guide until our life’s end.
Understand the pressures and challenges faced by the generations following us.
Understand others by sympathizing with what you know of their difficult circumstances and challenges.
Understand that increasing limitations and frustrations are inevitable in old age.
Understand that–just as in every stage of life–when dealing with every problem or challenge we face, we are [to] be guided by the Scriptures.
He closes with an “anonymous prayer for a life of service.” I recognized it right away because it has been set to music and is a favorite of mine: