Most hymnbooks that I’ve seen only include stanzas 1, 6 and 9 of this classic carol, but there are many other excellent verses that should be highlighted during Advent and Christmas. Here are my favorite four to sing during this time of year.
Of the Father’s love begotten, ere the worlds began to be,
He is Alpha and Omega, He the source, the ending He,
Of the things that are, that have been,
And that future years shall see, evermore and evermore!
He is found in human fashion, death and sorrow here to know,
That the race of Adam’s children doomed by law to endless woe,
May not henceforth die and perish
In the dreadful gulf below, evermore and evermore!
O that birth forever blessèd, when the virgin, full of grace,
By the Holy Ghost conceiving, bare the Savior of our race;
And the Babe, the world’s Redeemer,
First revealed His sacred face, evermore and evermore!
This is He Whom seers in old time chanted of with one accord;
Whom the voices of the prophets promised in their faithful word;
Now He shines, the long expected,
Let creation praise its Lord, evermore and evermore!
Let’s play a fun little game: who wrote/performed the following song? Please don’t Google it, as that would only prove you have the computing skills of my 4-year-old daughter.
Have you ever thought about your soul – can it be saved?
Or perhaps you think that when you’re dead you just stay in your grave
Is God just a thought within your head or is he a part of you?
Is Christ just a name that you read in a book when you were in school?
When you think about death do you lose your breath or do you keep your cool?
Would you like to see the Pope on the end of a rope – do you think he’s a fool?
Well I have seen the truth, yes I’ve seen the light and I’ve changed my ways
And I’ll be prepared when you’re lonely and scared at the end of our days
Could it be you’re afraid of what your friends might say
If they knew you believe in God above?
They should realize before they criticize
that God is the only way to love
Is your mind so small that you have to fall
In with the pack wherever they run
Will you still sneer when death is near
And say they may as well worship the sun?
I think it was true it was people like you that crucified Christ
I think it is sad the opinion you had was the only one voiced
Will you be so sure when your day is near, say you don’t believe?
You had the chance but you turned it down, now you can’t retrieve
Perhaps you’ll think before you say that God is dead and gone
Open your eyes, just realize that he’s the one
The only one who can save you now from all this sin and hate
Or will you still jeer at all you hear? Yes! I think it’s too late.
First correct answer wins a No-Prize. Continue reading
I had never heard of this Isaac Watts hymn until yesterday, but it’s a wonderful example of the law/gospel distinction.
1. The Law commands and makes us know
What duties to our God we owe;
But ’tis the Gospel must reveal
Where lies our strength to do his will.
2. The Law discovers guilt and sin
And shows how vile our hearts have been;
The Gospel only can express
Forgiving love and cleansing grace.
3. What curses doth the Law denounce
Against the man who fails but once!
But in the Gospel Christ appears,
Pardoning the guilt of numerous years.
4. My soul, no more attempt to draw
Thy life and comfort from the Law
Fly to the hope the Gospel gives;
The man that trusts the promise lives.
It can be sung to the Old Hundredth tune, among many others.
In no particular order.
Based on this, you can surely psychoanalyze me now.
Lo, how a Rose e’er blooming from tender stem hath sprung!
Of Jesse’s lineage coming, as men of old have sung.
It came, a floweret bright, amid the cold of winter,
When half spent was the night.
Isaiah ’twas foretold it, the Rose I have in mind;
With Mary we behold it, the virgin mother kind.
To show God’s love aright, she bore to men a Savior,
When half spent was the night.
The shepherds heard the story proclaimed by angels bright,
How Christ, the Lord of glory was born on earth this night.
To Bethlehem they sped and in the manger found Him,
As angel heralds said.
This Flower, whose fragrance tender with sweetness fills the air,
Dispels with glorious splendor the darkness everywhere;
True Man, yet very God, from sin and death He saves us,
And lightens every load.
O Savior, Child of Mary, who felt our human woe,
O Savior, King of glory, who dost our weakness know;
Bring us at length we pray, to the bright courts of Heaven,
And to the endless day!
See this post by Bob Rudis for more on this carol.
5. In Rainbows, Radiohead
4. Death Magnetic, Metallica
3. Vampire Weekend, Vampire Weekend
2. For Emma, Forever Ago, Bon Iver
1. The ’59 Sound, The Gaslight Anthem
I may be prone to hyperbole from time to time, but in this case I am not. There is a reason the internet was created, and this video is it.
I lift my soul to God,
My trust is in His Name:
Let not my foes that seek my blood
Still triumph in my shame.
Sin, and the powers of hell,
Persuade me to despair:
Lord, make me know Thy covenant well,
That I may ’scape the snare.
From the first dawning light
Till the dark evening rise,
For Thy salvation, Lord, I wait
With ever longing eyes.
Remember all Thy grace,
And lead me in Thy truth;
Forgive the sins of riper days,
And follies of my youth.
The Lord is just and kind,
The meek shall learn His ways,
And every humble sinner find
The methods of His grace.
For His own goodness’ sake
He saves my soul from shame:
He pardons, though my guilt be great,
Through my Redeemer’s Name.
by Isaac Watts
John H. at Confessing Evangelical gives the account of the writing of the classic hymn Rock of Ages. Very interesting to say the least, although I fail to see why the number of my sins is important when compared to the gravity of just one.
Come, sinners, to the Gospel feast;
Let every soul be Jesus’ guest.
Ye need not one be left behind,
For God hath bid all humankind.
Sent by my Lord, on you I call;
The invitation is to all.
Come, all the world! Come, sinner, thou!
All things in Christ are ready now.
Come, all ye souls by sin oppressed,
Ye restless wanderers after rest;
Ye poor, and maimed, and sick, and blind,
In Christ a hearty welcome find.
Come, and partake the Gospel feast;
Be saved from sin; in Jesus rest;
O taste the goodness of your God,
And eat His flesh, and drink His blood!