Tag Archives: Emmanuel

12 Days of Emmanuel (Day 12!)

Hail the King” is a re-tuning (new music to a previous song) of Gentle Mary Laid Her Child — a lesser known Christmas Carol. What’s wonderful about this carol is that it has many of the elements of Luke’s account neatly tucked into a poetic song that covers so much of the story: the manger, the angels, the wise men, the shepherds, and of course, Mary.

In addition, the inclusio of verse one and three that he is the undefiled–once a stranger, now no longer a stranger.

The refrain, “Hail the King of glory” lifted from verse three, was a development to the song and became the new name for Sarah’s version on the album.

1 Gentle Mary laid her Child
Lowly in a manger;
There He lay, the undefiled,
To the world a stranger:
Such a Babe in such a place,
Can He be the Savior?
Ask the saved of all the race
Who have found His favor.

Refrain: Hail the King of Glory! (3x) Hail!

2 Angels sang about His birth;
Wise men sought and found Him;
Heaven’s star shone brightly forth,
Glory all around Him:
Shepherds saw the wondrous sight,
Heard the angels singing;
All the plains were lit that night,
All the hills were ringing.

3 Gentle Mary laid her Child
Lowly in a manger;
He is still the undefiled,
But no more a stranger:
Son of God, of humble birth,
Beautiful the story;
Praise His name in all the earth,
Hail the King of glory!

Listen to the whole album on one of the following:

Thanks again for reading this series! More to come in 2020! Topics include: goals, refugees, reconciliation and blessing others. Stay tuned!

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12 Days of Emmanuel (Day 11)

Today is the Feast of Stephen, also known as Boxing Day. It is the second day of Christmas, December 26, and the occasion of the song, “Good King Wenceslas.”

This narrative carol tells of a Catholic Bohemian Duke, Vaclav the Good, who sees a poor man gathering wood. He recruits his unnamed page to help him bring a gift of meat, wine and pine logs. As the page weakens due to the cruel wintery weather, God helps them prevail by a small miracle. The conclusion of the matter? “You who will not help the poor, shall yourselves find blessing!” This is a very biblical theme and a good reminder.

2Cor. 9:10   He who supplies seed to the sower and bread for food will supply and multiply your seed for sowing and increase the harvest of your righteousness. 11 You will be enriched in every way to be generous in every way, which through us will produce thanksgiving to God. 12 For the ministry of this service is not only supplying the needs of the saints but is also overflowing in many thanksgivings to God. 

Published in 1853 by J.M. Neele, this song is a family favorite. Since the performance on Emmanuel is piano and no words, I’ll place them here.

Good King Wenceslas looked out 
On the feast of Stephen, 
When the snow lay round about 
Deep and crisp and even;

Brightly shone the moon that night 
Though the frost was cruel, 
When a poor man came in sight, 
Gath’ring winter fuel.

‘Hither, page, and stand by me, 
If thou know’st it, telling 
Yonder peasant, who is he? 
Where and what his dwelling?’

‘Sire, he lives a good league hence, 
Underneath the mountain, 
Right against the forest fence, 
By Saint Agnes’ fountain.’

‘Bring me flesh and bring me wine, 
Bring me pine logs hither, 
Thou and I will see him dine 
When we bear them thither.’

Page and monarch forth they went, 
Forth they went together, 
Through the rude wind’s wild lament 
And the bitter weather.

‘Sire, the night is darker now 
And the wind blows stronger; 
Fails my heart, I know not how, 
I can go no longer.’

‘Mark my footsteps, good my page, 
Tread thou in them boldly: 
Thou shalt find the winter’s rage 
Freeze thy blood less coldly.’

In his master’s steps he trod, 
Where the snow lay dinted; 
Heat was in the very sod 
Which the Saint had printed.

Therefore, Christian men, be sure 
Wealth or rank possessing, 
Ye who now will bless the poor 
Shall yourselves find blessing.

Merry Christmas! One more day left of “12 Days of Emmanuel.” Thanks for tuning in.

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12 Days of Emmanuel (Day 10)

Merry Christmas! Here’s a charming medley for your Christmas cheer.

Sarah’s Christmas Medley is nine minutes of Christmas tunes to bring contemplation, grace and joy!


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12 Days of Emmanuel (Day 8)

O Come, O Come Emmanuel, is one of the older Christmas songs we sing. The original source material, “O Antiphon,” dates back to circa 800 AD.

This version is sung a cappella–solo voice with no accompaniment. This song helps me enter into the waiting of Advent. While we wait for Christmas day we remember that God’s people were waiting for hundreds and hundreds of years for the advent of Jesus.

Deep in the solemn lyrics and minor key are promises of redemption: “ransom captive Israel…from depths of hell they people save, and give them victory o’er the grave…disperse the gloomy clouds of night, and death’s dark shadows put to flight.”

Therefore, “Rejoice! Rejoice, Emmanuel, shall come to thee O Israel.”

You can listen to O Come, O Come Emmanuel, and the whole album on one of the following:


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12 Days of Emmanuel (Day 7)

Last year was the 200th anniversary of “Silent Night” (1719-2019). This may be one of the most beloved Christmas songs.

Each year, our church closes with a candlelight service by singing “Silent Night, Holy Night; All is calm, all is bright…” You can join us in singing this with us on Christmas Eve at Grace Covenant, 444 Creamery Way, Exton, PA. (5:00 and 7:00 PM).

The famous history of the song was that a flood had ruined the organ at the church in Oberndorf, Austria. Joseph Mohr brought his words to Franz Gruber to write a tune for guitar since the organ was out of commission. The song was met with affection and was shared broadly.

Ironically, as many have pointed out, it was more likely a noisy night. Cattle and oxen surround the holy family. A cry went out as Mary endured labor pains and delivery (with no drugs or doctors). Babies cry; and so did Jesus!

Yet nostalgia of Silent Night is so enchanting and warm, and reminds us of the Prince of Peace brings peace. It was a holy night, and I’m sure there was also a holy hush when things quieted down.

This version, with piano (not guitar), plays with the rhythm slightly to emphasize the message. It’s jazzy and mello. So slow down, fix a cup of hot cocoa or tea, and put your earphones on…and then listen to Silent Night.

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

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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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