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12 Days of Emmanuel (Day 6)

Bring A Torch Jeanette Isabella” is a French song from the Provence region. It is modeled around the imagination of a mother speaking to her child, pretending that the manger scene in the public square is the actual place.

Some have said the song is meant to imagine that two young milkmaids (Jeanette and Isabella) have been asked to bring a torch to the original manger scene. Either way, it is fun playful and meant to imagine what it would be like if you get to see Jesus for yourself. My mentor, Robert J. Morgan delivered a sermon in 2003 based on this song.

So enjoy the song and imagine that you we privilege to come see Jesus when he was born. How would you act?

  • Bring a torch and gaze quietly
  • Let Jesus sleep, “don’t talk so loud”
  • Invite all the good folk of the village
  • See how he smiles in his sleep!

Are you coming to see Him? What does that look like for you this Christmas? Who will you tell?

Here’s where you can find the whole album, Emmanuel.

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12 Days of Emmanuel (Day 5)

God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen” is a classic Christmas story-song. It focuses on the Lukan narrative of Mary, the angels, and the shepherds and emphasizes the rest God provides through His Son, our Savior.

The refrain, “Oh-oh, tiding of comfort and joy, comfort and joy” is a catchy repeat that allows even those who struggle with all seven verses to always have a part to play.

In this version Sarah follow the original tune, which makes it an arrrangment, but it has its own style. The verses that are here form a chiastic (hourglass structure.) The 2nd and 6th are about Mary and have a protestant feel, as they emphasize both Mary’s humility, and worship of Jesus. (Roman Catholics usually focus on her honor and virtue.) Here’s the structure:

  • 1. Public invitation — God REST ye merry Gentlemen
    • 2. Mary’s HUMILITY — did nothing take in scorn
      • 3. Angel to Shepherds — announcement
        • 4. FEAR NOT — he comes to save us
      • 5. Shepherds go to Bethlehem — laid in a manger
    • 6. Mary’s worship — kneeling to PRAY before the manger
  • 7. Public response — “Now to the Lord sing PRAISES all you within this place, and with true love and brotherhood each other now embrace.”
  • So note the structure:
    • The center verse is #4 — FEAR NOT.
    • Surrounded by Angel and Shepherds (#3 and #5)
    • Sourrounded by Mary (#2 and #6) — HUMBLE and PRAYING,
    • Surrounded by our response: REST and PRAISE

Tidings of comfort and joy!

Here’s where you can find the whole album, Emmanuel.

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12 Days of Emmanuel (Day 4)

Thou Who Wast Rich is not a well-known Christmas carol. Frankly the tune hasn’t stood the test of time. But the lyrics, written by Frank Houghton, are spectacular! They are a reflection fo 2 Corinthians 8:9. “For you know the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, that though he was rich, yet for your sake he became poor, so that you by his poverty might become rich.”

In this example of theology from heaven’s perspective, you will hear Sarah’s version imitate a royal theme of fanfare in the piano part.

The original verses (here 1, 2, and 4) emphasize Christ’s humiliation, incarnation, and exaltation. I wrote an additional verse (here # 3) which emphasizes crucifixion, following 2 Corithians 5:21 “For our sake he made him to be sin who knew no sin, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God.”

I believed the song was improved by making the work of Christ’s atonement explicit. So not only did he become poor, become man, but he also became sin.

Here are the lyrics as they are sung on Emmanuel.

1. Thou who wast rich beyond all splendour,
All for love’s sake became poor;
Thrones for a manger didst surrender,
Sapphire-paved courts for stable floor.
Thou who wast rich beyond all splendour,
All for love’s sake becomes poor.

2. Thou who art God beyond all praising,
All for love’s sake became man;
Stooping so low, but sinners raising
Heavenwards by thine eternal plan.
Thou who art God beyond all praising,
All for love’s sake becamest man.

3. Thou who art good beyond all measure,
All for love’s sake became sin;
Setting aside thine own good pleasure
Die to make us live again,
Thou who art good beyond all measure,
All for love’s sake became sin.

4. Thou who art love beyond all telling,
Saviour and King, we worship thee.
Emmanuel, within us dwelling,
Make us what thou wouldst have us be.
Thou who art love beyond all telling,
Saviour and King, we worship thee.

Enjoy this powerful song that speaks of the costly work of Christ to make us heirs with Him. What grace that though he was rich, yet for our sakes became poor!

Also, if you’d like to learn even more about the background of Frank Houghton and the context of Thou Who Wast Rich, as it was birthed out of tragedy in missions check out this post.

Here’s where you can find the whole album, Emmanuel.

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12 Days of Emmanuel (Day 3)

Today’s song, Come Thou Long Expected Jesus, is one of my favorites. (You are allowed to have lots of favorites in life, by the way!)

This hymn, written by Charles Wesley (one of the greatest hymn writers of all time) goes by quick… It is only 2 verses! Yet every couplet rings with fresh themes of Messiah’s provision and glorious salvation.

In verse 1 we hear of many benefits for ourselves: freedom, rest, strength, hope, and joy.

In verse 2 we hear of the paradox of Christ, the permanence of His kingdom, His sovereignty by the Holy Spirit, and the sufficiency of his merits which elevate us to his very throne. That’s a ton of beautiful theology in just 16 lines. They don’t write them like they use to!

Here are the lyrics:

1. Come, thou long expected Jesus,
born to set thy people free;
from our fears and sins release us,
let us find our rest in thee.
Israel’s strength and consolation,
hope of all the earth thou art;
dear desire of every nation,
joy of every longing heart.

2. Born thy people to deliver,
born a child and yet a King,
born to reign in us forever,
now thy gracious kingdom bring.
By thine own eternal spirit
rule in all our hearts alone;
by thine all sufficient merit,
raise us to thy glorious throne.

So enjoy this short but sweet song. You might want to put it on song repeat and soak it in a few times.

Here’s where you can find the whole album, Emmanuel.

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12 Days of Emmanuel (Day 2)

Day 2 of 12 Days brings us to the next song, What Child is This? Traditionally, this song is sung to the tune Greensleeves, but Sarah wrote a new tune for this one which helps us hear the song in a fresh way.

Like so many Christmas carols, the focus is entirely on Christ. Verse 1 begins with a question, the title, “What Child is this who laid to rest on Mary’s lap is sleeping?”

In other words, who is this? The answer comes immediately: “This, this is Christ the King!”

This sets up verse two which begins with another provocative question, “Why lies he here in such crude estate where ox and ass are feeding?” That is, if he is the King that verse one proclaims, why is he born with animals instead of a palace? The answer is profound! He’s here because he has come to humble himself and be obedient to death, even death on a cross (Philippians 2:8).

“Good Christians fear for sinners here, the silent Word is pleading.

Nails, spears shall pierce him through, the cross be borne for me for you.

Hail, hail the Word made flesh, the baby the son of Mary.”


Lastly, verse three answers the implicit question, how shall we respond to all of this?

“Bring him your incense, your gold, your myrrh (allusion to the Magi), come peasant come king to own Him,

He’s the king of kings and salvation he brings.

Let loving hearts enthrone him.”


Ah, there it is!

  • What child? The King! (but without a throne)
  • Why here in this manner? To die for us!
  • What response shall we render? Let loving hearts enthrone Him!

Enjoy What Child is This?

Here’s where you can find the whole album.

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12 Days of Emmanuel (Day 1)

12 years ago my wife and I did something kind of crazy, but really fun! After Sarah performed a Christmas concert for a small local church, I urged her to record this simple album–mostly just piano and vocals. Sarah laid down 12 tracks (and added two previous tracks) in about 3 days at a Studio A recording studio. It was a mini-marathon of music!

Then we got even crazier! We gave away 800 digital copies of the album, Emmanuel–for free! Back when this was released, CD’s were really common, and online music was just beginning to surge, so we used Facebook, Noisetrade, and yes, even mySpace!

In honor of the 12 year anniversary of the release of Emmanuel, we are giving you the Twelve Days of Emmanuel. In each daily post I will share a little something about one song (now through December 26).

So, in this season where we are so busy, here’s your invitation stop, listen and repeat.

Day one is “Good Christian Men Rejoice!” (Spotify). The tune is officially called, IN DULCI JUBILO, a folk song with a lively spirit.

Why should we rejoice? This song gives us some of reasons: we hear of endless bliss, no longer fearing the grave, and more. What parts of the gospel do you hear?

Here’s where you can find the whole album.

Rejoice, for God has come. He is Emmanuel!

Tim

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What piques your interest?

I’m thinking about resuming blogging.  It’s been four years since my last post.

What would you like to read about on this blog?

Maybe you can inspire me!  I invite you to try.  I’m looking forward to hearing from you.

Best,

Tim

PS.  The verb to pique means to excite one’s interest.

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