Monday, January 4, 2010

If Ye Truly Seek It (Day Eleven)

Two more days of Christmas to go! Our last two hymns take us forward from the scene of the Nativity, starting there, reminding us of it, but also bringing the Incarnation into our lives today (despite not exactly being modern texts).

Theodore Chickering Williams was a graduate of Harvard Divinity School and ordained in the Unitarian church. After a brief position in Massachusetts, he became the minister at All Souls Church in New York City, the largest Unitarian congregation there, and he remained for thirteen years. This later hymn first appeared in the Unitarian New Hymn and Tune Book (1914) and shortly thereafter in Charles Hutchins's collection Carols Old and Carols New (1916).

In the lonely midnight
On the wintry hill,
Shepherds heard the angels
Singing, “Peace, good will.”
Listen, O ye weary,
To the angels’ song,
Unto you the tidings
Of great joy belong.

Though in David’s city
Angels sing no more,
Love makes angel music
On earth’s farthest shore;
Though no heavenly glory
Meet your wondering eyes,
Love can make your dwelling
Bright as paradise.

Though the Child of Mary,
Sent from heaven on high,
In the manger cradle
May no longer lie,
Love is first forever,
Though the proud world scorn;
If ye truly seek it,
Christ your Love is born.

Theodore C. Williams, 1914; alt.
French plainsong melody, date unknown

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