Tag Archives: Frank Houghton

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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