Tuesday, January 5, 2016

And Where Shall the Savior Rest? (Day Twelve)

On the Twelfth Day of Christmas we have a more contemplative text. We start at the
humble manger, perhaps the place in the story that we can understand best -- no stars
or shepherds or angels -- no miracles, but reality.

Not surprisingly, this text was written during the First World War, and was published
in Carols Old and Carols New (1916), a collection by Charles Lewis Hutchins. Benjamin
Boulter, a London schoolmaster, wrote the text, matched to a tune by his wife, Bertha
Boulter, a violinist and composer. I can't help wondering if the Boulters were personally
affected by the war in any way after reading this text. The photograph above is a bombed-
out church in the French village of Villers–Bretonneux, taken in May, 1918, only one of many houses of worship destroyed by war over the centuries.

Where shall the Prince of Peace be born,
And where shall the Savior rest?
In a stable bare, in a crib forlorn:
For the busy inn will cruelly scorn
Its great and glorious guest.
Where shall the Prince of Peace be born,
And where shall the Savior rest?
To a ruined church, on a Christmas morn,
To a world by hatred and warfare torn,
He comes, the Savior blest.
Where shall the Prince of Peace be born,
And where shall the Savior rest?
In the hearts of those that are crowned with thorn,
In the hearts of the sad bereft that mourn,
In the hearts of the poor oppressed.
Lowly and humble this heart of mine,
Yet there shall the Savior rest;
For the altar lights on the cradle shine,
And the glory of God fills the ruined shrine,
Quia Jesus natus est.

Benjamin C. Boulter, 1916; alt.
Tune: CRIB AND CROSS (Irregular)
Bertha F.L. Boulter, 1916

We've come to the end of another Twelve Days of Christmas here at the blog, and I've
been reminded again what a great volume of material has been written for the season
over the last few centuries.  The surface has barely been scratched!  There are still many
hymns and songs and carols we have not explored: the well-known, the somewhat-known,
and the completely unknown (and, I suppose a fourth category of the rightfully unknown).
Maybe I'll do it again next year.

P.S. - If you came to this post through a Facebook link you can see the whole selection
of hymns for the Twelve Days of Christmas by clicking the blog logo at the top of the page.

Six Years Ago: Sound over all waters

Five Years Ago: Do you know the song that the angels sang?

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