Saturday, January 2, 2016

Earth Listened Far and Wide (Day Nine)

We celebrate the day
Of triumph and of rest,
When, shown of God and shaped in clay,
The Word was manifest.

The angels saw and sung,
Earth listened far and wide,
Believed and preached -- a faith, a tongue,
The Word was glorified.

God, give it gracious sweep,
And here its errand bless,
Whose mercy sent it o'er the deep
To glad a wilderness.

Shoot forth its starry light
To guide our pilgrim way,
A sign of hope through this world's night,
And brighter than its day.

Again thy witness-voice!
Again thy Spirit-dove!
That hearts may in its trust rejoice,
And soften with its love.

Nathaniel Langdon Frothingham, 1835; alt.
Arthur Somervell, 1906

Christmas is also known in some circles as the Feast of the Incarnation.  The well-known opening verses of the Gospel of John announce the coming of the Word made flesh, and this hymn is derived from that idea.

Unitarian minister and poet Nathaniel Langdon Frothingham wrote this text in 1835 for the ordination of William Parsons Lunt at the United First Parish Church in Quincy. MA.  Lunt has another musical Christmas connection, as it was at his request that Edmund Hamilton Sears wrote It came upon the midnight clear for Lunt's Sunday School in 1849.

Seven Years Ago: Elizabeth Rundle Charles

Six Years Ago: Lo! how a Rose e'er blooming

Five Years Ago: Elizabeth Rundle Charles

Three Years Ago: Elizabeth Rundle Charles

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