“I Wonder As I Wander”

“I Wonder As I Wander” is an American Christmas carol with words and melody by John Jacob Niles. He based it on a few snatches of song he heard on July 16, 1933, in the small Appalachian town of Murphy, North Carolina: A girl had stepped out to the edge of the little platform attached […]

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“Lo, How A Rose E’er Blooming”

Music is one of the most wonderful aspects of the Christmas season.  The songs of hope, joy and love span centuries and countries, and when we sing these words or listen to these carols, we join with other believers who in other times and in other places worshiped God with the same music. “Lo, How […]

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“Mary, Did You Know?”

There are some songs with words and music so personally significant, I still remember the first time I heard them. I heard Mary, Did You Know? sung by a small vocal ensemble at the water’s edge of a town harbor during an outdoor Christmas celebration over ten years ago. The lyrics and music throughout the song […]

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“Oh Come, Oh Come, Emmanuel!”

“Therefore the Lord himself shall give you a sign; Behold, a virgin shall conceive, and bear a son, and shall call his name Immanuel.” Isaiah 7:14 (KJV) The roots of the music of Oh Come, Oh Come, Emmanuel! go back to the 15th century.1 The Messianic titles in the lyrics, called the O Antiphons, are […]

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“Joy to the World!”

“Joy to the World” with its exuberant music and words of celebration is one of my favorite Christmas carols. The words are based on Psalm 98, and it is one of the more than 600 hymns written by Isaac Watts (1674-1748).1 He wrote the hymn, however, not of the First Advent of Christ, but of […]

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“In The Bleak Midwinter”

“In The Bleak Midwinter” is a lovely Christmas carol written by Christina Rossetti. “Our God, heaven cannot hold him, Nor earth sustain; Heaven and earth shall flee away When he comes to reign; In the bleak midwinter A stable place sufficed The Lord God Almighty, Jesus Christ.” In these two videos the words are sung […]

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“And the Glory of the Lord”

The libretto of Messiah is taken from numerous books of the Bible: Job, Psalms, Isaiah, Lamentations, Haggai, Zechariah, Malachi, Matthew, Luke, John, Romans, 1 Corinthians, Colossians, 1 Timothy, Hebrews and Revelation. If you’re not familiar with the passages selected by Jennens, you can read them at the above link. The first five verses of Isaiah […]

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Messiah!

When I was growing up we attended a church with a large music program, and I first sang in a choir as a young child. Our minister of music frequently had us sing the “Hallelujah” chorus from Handel’s Messiah during December. The adult choir was at the front of the church behind the ministers, while […]

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Christmas Art & Music

On Sundays and Wednesdays this month I’ll be posting Christmas music. During the week before Christmas there will be several posts as well as more on Christmas Day. I’ll be adding links to each in the right sidebar. You will also find there works of art that depict the events surrounding the birth of Christ. […]

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The Messenger & The Messiah

You have wearied the LORD with your words. Yet you say, “How have we wearied Him?” In that you say, “Everyone who does evil is good in the sight of the LORD, and He delights in them,” or, “Where is the God of justice?” “Behold, I am going to send My messenger, and he will […]

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