While researching unfamiliar Christmas carols, I did find some that are truly better left in the past. Try singing this to feel the that joyous Christmas cheer:
‘Stupendous height of heavenly love, of pitying tenderness divine
It brought the Saviour from above, it caused the springing day to shine;
The sun of righteousness to appear, and gild our gloomy atmosphere.’
Surprisingly, this is from the pen (quill?) of Charles Wesley. It obviously didn’t catch on…..
Not too many years after Wesley, James Montgomery wrote these lines:
Angels from the realms of glory,
Wing your flight o’er all the earth;
Ye who sang creation’s story
Now proclaim Messiah’s birth.
Come and worship, come and worship,
Worship Christ, the newborn King.
Shepherds, in the field abiding,
Watching o’er your flocks by night,
God with us is now residing;
Yonder shines the infant light:
Sages, leave your contemplations,
Brighter visions beam afar;
Seek the great Desire of nations;
Ye have seen His natal star.
Saints, before the altar bending,
Watching long in hope and fear;
Suddenly the Lord, descending,
In His temple shall appear.
You may well know this carol; but do you know these verses? They have been omitted in hymn books, even those from 1930’s.
Sinners, wrung with true repentance,
Doomed for guilt to endless pains,
Justice now revokes the sentence,
Mercy calls you; break your chains.
Though an Infant now we view Him,
He shall fill His Father’s throne,
Gather all the nations to Him;
Every knee shall then bow down:
All creation, join in praising
God, the Father, Spirit, Son,
Evermore your voices raising
To th’eternal Three in One.
As in this carol, the most essential message of Christmas trails behind and ultimately looses out. The fifth verse is very Victorian; could you say why? Point to ponder: take one of the most well known carols you know. Is there, in any of the verses, mention of our gloomy, doomed existence here on earth? Have we moved on from this sort of consideration at this season of goodwill and lost the essence of redemption? That is the heart of Christmas.