Tag Archives: Christmas 2017

Last Call for Christmas Hymn Requests

Not that I’m going to say “No!” if you come along tomorrow with a request for a Christmas hymn; but I won’t be asking for anymore requests until this year’s Christmas season. Meanwhile, I pray that the Lord Our God will grant this past Christmas extraordinary power, all throughout the year, to draw men’s hearts to Jesus Christ, our rightful king and only Savior, Amen.

So enjoy this curtain call for Gesu Bambino, by the unforgettable Luciano Pavarotti. I don’t know about you, but this hymn movies me to tears every time.

‘Bring a Torch, Jeannette Isabella’

This is an old French hymn, and I haven’t heard it since I was a kid and we sang it in school: Bring a Torch, Jeannette Isabella, performed by the Robert Shaw Chorale. I was thinking of this carol a few days ago, wondering if I’d be able to find it, wondering if I’d remembered it right; and there it was today, on the youtube home page.

Yes! We sang Christmas songs at Christmas-time in school, because it was a better, cleaner, saner time, and Christmas was allowed.

‘O Little Town of Bethlehem’ (With Totally Different Melody)

I’ve never heard O Little Town of Bethlehem sung to this melody before. The thing that’s going to bug me all day is, I know I’ve heard that melody with another set of lyrics, another hymn–but I can’t remember its name. Well, one of you out there must be a more knowledgeable hymnologist than I am. Hoping to hear from you!

P.S.–While I was pondering this, Patty discovered that this is a folk melody called “Forest Green,” which the composer Vaughan Williams adapted to O Little Town of Bethlehem.

By Request, ‘Carol of the Bells’

“Thewhiterabbit” requested this one, and I’m glad he did. I was going to save it for tomorrow, but I feel the need of Christmas cheer, just now. Ach, the news! And on New Year’s Eve we had no heat here in our apartment, with the landlord saying it was our fault–aah, never mind. Just one of those little things that can get you down.

Well, it helps to remember what Christmas is all about–forgiveness of sins, redemption, and eternal life. We can only get those things from God… and He has taken care of it.

Encore: ‘Once in Royal David’s City’

“Thewhiterabbit” has requested Once in Royal David’s City, and I thought this performance of it by Libera rather nice.

Running out of time, folks, to request Christmas hymns–so if you’ve got a request to make, sing out.

‘Silent Night’ (Andre Rieu)

My aunts used to have Andre Reiu on TV all thoughout the Christmas season. Now the house is gone, my aunts are gone, and the memories stand. Christmas is a good time for memories, and an even better time for hope. Jesus Christ is come in the flesh.

Anyway, I’m standing on the hilltop, waving the Christmas flag. Please feel free to join in with a hymn request of your own.

‘I Heard the Bells on Christmas Day’ (Burl Ives)

Henry Wadsworth Longfellow wrote these words in 1864. His wife had just died in a fire that burned down their house, and the nation was in the third year of the Civil War–to this day, the bloodiest war ever for America. That any man could write such a hymn as this, still sung 150 years later, displays the image of God in us.

And nobody sang it like Burl ives…

The Oldest Christmas Carol?

So what is the oldest known Christmas hymn? Probably this–Jesus Refulsit Omnium (“Jesus Illuminates All”), written by St. Hilary, Bishop of Poitiers, in 336 A.D. The hymn is preserved in a few ancient books dating from over a thousand years ago.

Sung by the George Watson College Chamber Choir.

‘Go Tell It on the Mountain’

This is the Drakensberg Boys’ Choir, from South Africa, singing Go Tell It on the Mountain.

I’ve been trying for 60 years to learn how to snap my fingers, and still haven’t managed it.

‘Away in a Manger’ (Fountainview Academy)

Youtube has this mislabeled as Joy to the World, which is what I expected to hear when I clicked it. But what comes out is this beautiful performance, by the kids at Fountainview Academy, of Away in a Manger.

Think about it. To a world boiling over with wickedness, suffering, sin, and death, God sends, to repair it and redeem it… a baby in a manger.

Christianity is an excitingly wild idea. The more you think on it, the wilder it gets. But as C.S. Lewis said, “He’s not a tame lion.”

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