In this advent time the Surge kids' program has been exploring how Christmas carols remind us about Christ. The best of these carols connect temporary tinsel with timeless truths. Each of my next few postings will demonstrate this claim using some of the slides and video clips presented and discussed by our "upper room rockers". Come visit us!
All Christmas carols sprinkle more or less glitter on the Bible story. Many add farm animals such as those shown above. If you check the opening chapters of Matthew and Luke, you'll find sheep mentioned—but in the fields, not in Bethlehem. A donkey, cattle, camels, and doves are guesses about creatures present at the manger. Were they there? A Christmas pageant features these creatures. However, the Bible just doesn't say if they were at the manger. Maybe they were there. Maybe not. No less creatively, our friends in Australia note their visitors to the Lord of All Creation. Why not?
Joseph as Jedi?
Glitter. Sparkle. Guesses.
Here is our first classic carol. Can you spot any guesses?
The small darkened town inspired Phillips Brooks to write a poem about the quietness of Christ's birth:
O little town of Bethlehem,
How still we see thee lie;
Above thy deep and dreamless sleep
The silent stars go by.
Yet in thy dark streets shineth
The everlasting Light;
The hopes and fears of all the years
Are met in thee tonight.
For Christ is born of Mary,
and gathered all above,
While mortals sleep, the angels keep
their watch of wond'ring love.
O morning stars, together
proclaim the holy birth!
And praises sing to God the King,
and peace to men on earth.
How silently, how silently,
the wondrous gift is given!
So God imparts to human hearts
the blessings of his heaven.
No ear may hear his coming,
but in this world of sin,
where meek souls will receive him still,
the dear Christ enters in.
O holy child of
to us, we pray;
Cast out our sin
and enter in;
be born in us today.
We hear the Christmas angels
the great glad tidings tell;
O come to us, abide with us,
our Lord Emmanuel!
Phillips Brookes wrote the words to “O Little Town of Bethlehem”.
Three years later just before Christmas, he asked Lewis Redner, an organist at his church, to come up with music for these words. But Lewis had trouble. In his own words....
“As Christmas of 1868 approached, Mr. Brooks told me that he had written a simple little carol for the Christmas Sunday-school service, and he asked me to write the tune to it.…. On the Saturday night previous my brain was all confused about the tune. But I was roused from sleep late in the night hearing an angel-strain whispering in my ear.”
“I jotted down the treble of the tune as we now have it, and on Sunday morning before going to church I filled in the harmony. Neither Mr. Brooks nor I ever thought the carol or the music to it would live beyond that Christmas of 1868.”
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At The Surge we love doing things together... that includes writing a blog! Here are a few of our main contributing authors:
Our fearless leader, Dwaine is the lead pastor at The Surge. His experience in counter terrorism with the CIA prepared him for ministry and he likes dogs and babies even more than E does.
E (short for Eric Reiss) is the Wingman at The Surge and likes dogs, music, Mexican food, his wife Karen and his little girl Evangeline... not necessarily in that order.