Holidays

While Shepherds Watched Their Flocks by Nahum Tate (ca. 1700)

nahumWhile shepherds watched their flocks by night,
All seated on the ground,
The angel of the Lord came down,
And glory shone around.

“Fear not!” said he, for mighty dread
Had seized their troubled mind;
“Glad tidings of great joy I bring
To you and all mankind.

“To you, in David’s town, this day
Is born of David’s line
A Savior, who is Christ the Lord,
And this shall be the sign:

“The heav’nly Babe you there shall find
To human view displayed,
All meanly wrapped in swathing bands,
And in a manger laid.”

Thus spake the seraph and forthwith
Appeared a shining throng
Of angels praising God on high,
Who thus addressed their song:

“All glory be to God on high,
And to the Earth be peace;
Good will henceforth from heav’n to men
Begin and never cease!”

by Nahum Tate

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Unto Us A Son Is Given by Ray Chaplin

As in our Saviour’s wondrous birth At this time we joy know;
For mercy shown we can be glad, And thanks and praises show.

For Christ has come to rescue men From guilt, and sin and shame;
And pardon, hope and endless life Are found within this Name.

When He was born He laid aside His glory that He had
For all eternity enjoyed; And meekness He displayed.

And of a virgin He was born In great humility;
Yet wise men from the east Him praise, As they the Saviour see.

And as those shepherds knew such joy When they learnt Christ had come;
So we who trust Him soon may prove That Heaven will be our home.

For Christ came from above and showed He only is the way;
And life and truth He will impart To those who Him obey.

For He became our substitute When on the cross He died;
And He was punished for our sins When He was crucified.

God sent this wondrous precious gift, That we may thus receive
Abundant life through grace alone. May we on Him believe!

by Ray Chaplin

A New Christmas Carol by Kilby Austin

(to the tune of Away In The Manager)
Away in a manger, where cows ate their hay,
the Lord God of heaven was laid down one day
by Mary, his mother, whose heart sang of love
while “Glory!” and “Peace!” sang the angels above.

Away on a mountain while crowds gathered round
the Lord God of heaven sat down on the ground
and taught them that love is fulfilling the law,
so it was for love that he’d come for us all.

Away on a hilltop, a place called “The Skull,”
the Lord God of heaven was hung on a pole
by all of his people and all of their sin
while Israel and Satan cried, “Crucify him!”

Away in a tomb that a rich man had loaned,
the Lord God of heaven was laid behind stone
by some of his sad friends who’d watched as he died
and wondered how God’s Son could be crucified.

Away rolled the tombstone and sin, death, and hell:
the Lord God of heaven has done all things well,
and now he has risen and us with him raised,
that we may forever sing songs in his praise.

by Kilby Austin

“Waiting in Advent” by Michael Haykin

Neither phantasm nor wish,
This Road’s end will finish
In lambency and Advent.

Then, when Time’s Lord is free,
Answerèd bitter pain will be,
At History’s bar and bench.

But when, we long to ask?
When Space, like damask
Or velvet roll, is scrolled up.

So now, in hope we wait,
In winter’s early night,
His coming in joyous light.

Michael A.G. Haykin © 2012.

(Reproduced with permission from author from a blog post at The Andrew Fuller Center.)