‘The Holly and the Ivy’ (Maddy Prior)

I’ve never heard this carol sung to this tune before–The Holly and the Ivy, by Maddy Prior and Steeleye Span.

Hey, it’s the last weekend before Christmas! Let’s have those Christmas Carol Contest entries.

Trying to be a Cheerleader (with Bonus Hymn)

Among people who know me well, the word “optimist” is not likely to spring to mind. But as a member of the Chalcedon Foundation’s ministry, I can’t indulge that aspect of my personality. I have to try to be a cheerleader. My editor, Susan, thinks that’s a very funny position for me to occupy.

Listen to the hymn while I collect my thoughts. John Bunyan and Maddy Prior are better morale officers than I could ever be.

This is a dark period in history. I can’t think of anyone who doesn’t know that. We try to defend our Christian culture, but the ungodly attack from all directions. And I wind up writing about it, which doesn’t exactly pump me up and which I’m sure is no picnic for my readers. But we can’t just stand there and say everything is peachy, can we?

Everything is not peachy, and we might as well know it. If the human race were actually to do all the things that the ungodly insist we do, it would surely go extinct. Even if they got their world government, it would soon have no one left to govern.

What can any of us say? Trust in God and in His word, pray, comfort and support each other, speak nothing but the truth, put our heads down and work in Christ the King’s service–and grab a laugh when we can get it.

Because the last laugh will be God’s: He that sitteth in the heavens shall laugh (Psalm 2: 4).

‘Gaudete!’

Consider this a warm-up toss, heading toward Christmas–Gaudete, performed by Maddy Prior with Steeleye Span.

This hymn was first published in the 16th century. The Latin means “Rejoice! Christ is born of the Virgin Mary.”

‘I Know That My Redeemer Lives’

From Job 19:25, I Know That My Redeemer Lives. Eighteenth-century music and lyrics, beautifully sung by Maddy Prior. Message of comfort and hope from the Holy Spirit.

Encore: ‘O Worship the King’

This is one of my all-time favorite hymns, O Worship the King–and I just love the way Maddy Prior and the Carnival Band perform it.

Now, be honest: if you’d been the one creating the world, would you have thought to wire music into it? Well, God did!

‘Sing Lustily & With Good Courage’

That’s the title of an album of 18th-century hymns and worship songs performed by Maddy Prior with The Carnival Band. It’s also words for us to live by, in this turbulent and evil age. Sing lustily and with good courage! And may Almighty God go before us and tread down His enemies.

And this, of course, is the John Bunyan hymn, one of my favorites–To Be a Pilgrim/He Who Would True Valor See.

Encore, ‘O Worship the King’

I’m feeling kind of cast down this morning, but this is a hymn which never fails to ease my soul–O Worship the King, a wonderful old 19th century hymn, melody by Johann Haydn (Franz “Papa” Haydn’s brother), performed beautifully by Maddy Prior and the Carnival Band.

May the Lord strength us this day. All of us.

Hymn: ‘Come, O Thou Traveler’

Come, O Thou Traveler was written by Charles Wesley some 300 years ago, commemorating the Biblical account of Jacob’s wrestle with the angel. Words by Wesley, music by Maddy Prior and the Carnival Band, and brought to you by the Holy Spirit.

I admit I’m late to help you start your day, but when is a bad time to hear a hymn?

‘To Be a Pilgrim’ (Maddy Prior)

If you ask me, the Western world–which once was known as Christendom–needs a great revival of the spirit expressed in this hymn. Words by John Bunyan. Music by Maddy Prior and the Carnival Band. Message by the Holy Spirit.

Rise up, O men of God–rise up. And women and children, too.

‘Come, O Thou Traveler Unknown’

This is by Charles Wesley in the 18th century–Come, O Thou Traveler Unknown, sung by Maddy Prior and played, old-style, by the Carnival Band: a hymn about Jacob wrestling with the angel. Not the kind of thing we hear much of, these days.

May the music of God’s word fortify our spirits for the day.