Advent and Christmas Music

In addition to songs listed in Advent weeks, the following music may be of interest:

Christmas Is Real (Tune: ‘Spean’, 11 10 11 10D, TiS 201 ii)
Christmas is real when the cost that we measure
reaches the manger and touches the skies,
shop fronts give way to divine revelation,
God is among us and selfishness dies.

Christmas is real when the gifts that are given
mirror the love of this God upon earth,
God who is known in self-giving and loving
crowning our poverty, coming to birth.

Christmas still echoed when screams of the children,
slaughtered by Herod inflamed people’s fear.
Christmas remains when the trees and the tinsel
make way for news that we’d rather not hear.

Christmas is real when we enter the squalor
mirrored in Bethlehem so long ago;
off’ring the love that was seen in the God head,
total self-giving not baubles and show.
(Source: Andrew Pratt 2006, Hymns and Words blog)

Summer Christmas (Tune: ‘Aurelia’, TiS 457)
We sing our Christmas carols amidst the summer heat,
When scorching winds can torment those harvesting their wheat;
We look for cooling respite, some shade among the trees,
An evening change in weather, a light refreshing breeze.

The summer heat reminds us of drought and rainless days,
Of hostile dust-storms raging, of forest trees ablaze;
At times like these we question; we sometimes feel dismay;
We need to sing our carols to celebrate this day.

This story of a baby, exposed to human fate,
To summer heat and winter, to human love and hate;
The Jesus story claims that we all can rise above
Our disappointing failures to work the works of love.

We can be devastated by all the daily news,
By murders, wars and conflicts, by pessimistic views;
But in the Jesus story we ponder on the worth
Of love, compassion, beauty, the hope of peace on earth.

So Christmas has a message of dreaming and good cheer;
When God’s intention prompts us both now and every year,
In summer and in winter to emulate with joy
The life we see in Jesus – this tiny baby boy.
(Source: Stuart, George. 2009. Singing a New Song. Traditional Hymn Tunes with New Century Lyrics. Volume 2. Toronto)

Joy To The World
Joy to the world! The Christ is here!
The gift of peace to bring!
Let ev’ry heart a welcome place prepare.
And heav’n and nature sing,
And heav’n and nature sing,
And heav’n, and heav’n and nature sing!

Joy to the earth! The saviour lives!
With song your voice employ;
While fields and floods, rock, plains and hills
Repeat the sounding joy,
Repeat the sounding joy,
Repeat, repeat the sounding joy!

Christ fills the world with truth and grace,
And asks each life to prove
The glories of God’s righteousness
And wonders of God’s love,
And wonders of God’s love,
And wonders, and wonders of God’s love!
(Words: Haddon, G. P. 1994. Feminist Sacred Songs for Christmas. Scotland: Plus Publications)

O Holy Darkness, Loving Womb
Recording artist Shannon Kincaid sings “O Holy Darkness, Loving Womb,” with pictures from various artists, to the tune of “O Little Town of Bethlehem.” This song symbolizes darkness as creative bounty and beauty, and connects darkness to the Sacred Feminine, empowering us to end injustice and heal the wounds of Earth. “O Holy Darkness, Loving Womb” contributes to racial justice by changing the traditional symbolism of darkness as evil or ominous to darkness as creative bounty and beauty, affirming the sacred value of people of color through these positive images.

O Holy Darkness, loving Womb, who nurtures and creates,
sustain us through the longest night with dreams of open gates.
We move inside to mystery that in our center dwells,
where streams of richest beauty flow from sacred, living wells.

Creative Darkness, closest Friend, you whisper in the night;
you calm our fears as unknown paths surprise us with new sight.
We marvel at your bounty, your gifts so full and free,
unfolding as you waken us to new reality.

O Holy Night of deepest bliss, we celebrate your power;
infuse us with your energy that brings our seeds to flower.
The voice out of the darkness excites our warmest zeal
to bring together dark and light, true holiness reveal.

O come to us, Sophia; your image, black and fair,
stirs us to end injustice and the wounds of earth repair.
The treasures of your darkness and riches of your grace
inspire us to fulfill our call, our sacredness embrace.

(Words © Jann Aldredge-Clanton, from Inclusive Hymns for Liberating Christians, Eakin Press, 2006)

* People interested in Jann’s lyrics may be interested to read her book, Praying with Christ-Sophia: Services for Healing and Renewal, by Jann Aldredge-Clanton

Sound Forth the News That Wisdom Comes (to the tune of “Joy to the World”)
The book of Proverbs depicts Wisdom as a female image of the Divine: “She is more precious than jewels, and nothing you desire can compare with Her. Her ways are ways of pleasantness, and all Her paths are peace. She is a tree of life to those who lay hold of Her; those who hold Her fast are called happy” (Proverbs 3: 15, 17-18). “Sound Forth the News That Wisdom Comes” calls us to co-create with Wisdom a world of peace, justice, equality, love, freedom, and joy.

This video is a Christmas gift that comes with the hope that Wisdom will guide us to change our violent culture and to co-create with Her a peaceful world.

Sound forth the news that Wisdom comes
to bring new life to birth.
Arise with hope, Her labor join,
and peace shall fill the earth,
and peace shall fill the earth,
and peace, and peace shall fill the earth.

No more let fear and custom hide
the path of Wisdom fair.
She leads the way to life and joy,
with gifts for all to share,
with gifts for all to share,
with gifts, with gifts for all to share.

Joyful are we who heed the call
of Wisdom in our souls.
With Her we break oppression’s wall,
so love may freely flow,
so love may freely flow,
so love, so love may freely flow.

Crown Wisdom Queen of heaven and earth.
Her reign will set us free.
Fling wide the gates that all may come
join hands and dance with glee,
join hands and dance with glee,
join hands, join hands and dance with glee.

(Words © Jann Aldredge-Clanton, from Inclusive Hymns for Liberating Christians, Eakin Press, 2006).

Star-Child, Earth-Child
Star-Child, earth-Child
go-between of God,
love Child, Christ Child,
heaven’s lightning rod,
This year, this year,
let the day arrive,
when Christmas comes
for everyone,
everyone alive!

Street child, beat child
no place left to go,
hurt child, used child,
no one wants to know,

Grown child, old child,
mem’ry full of years,
sad child, lost child,
story told in tears,

Spared child, spoiled child,
having, wanting more,
wise child, faith child
knowing joy in store,

This year, this year,
let the day arrive,
when Christmas comes
for everyone,
everyone alive!

Hope-for-peace Child,
God’s stupendous sign,
down-to-earth Child,
star of stars that shine,

(Source: Shirley Erena Murray, Carol Our christmas. A Book of New Zealand Carols. 1996. Raumati: New Zealand Hymnbook Trust)

A New Father, Awe-Struck MUELLER (“Away in a Manger”)
A new father, awe-struck; a mother so mild;
A stable; a manger; a dear, newborn child —
God, as we imagine that family so blessed,
We sometimes forget they were poor and oppressed.

A woman — considered to have no real worth —
Said, yes! She would bear your own Son here on earth.
We hear her bold singing! Her faithful words soar:
“God humbles the rich and God lifts up the poor.”

As Joseph and Mary began a new home,
They suffered oppression from rulers in Rome.
Then, fleeing from Herod to save their son’s life,
They looked for a land free from violence and strife.

We hear in our own day the cries of the poor;
We see in Aleppo the terror of war*.
In women and children and men who must flee,
We glimpse, Lord, your life as a young refugee.

When some say that only the wealthy have worth,
O God, we recall where you lived here on earth.
May we in your church serve the poor and distressed;
For, working for justice, we give you our best.

Biblical References: Luke 1:46-55; Luke 2:1-20; Luke 22-24; Matthew 2:13-18; Matthew 25:31-46; Leviticus 12:6; Micah 6:8
Tune: James Ramsey Murray, 1887 (“Away in a Manger”)
Text: Copyright © 2016 by Carolyn Winfrey Gillette. All rights reserved.
Email: New Hymns:

Hymn Note for “A New Father, Awe-Struck”
This hymn begins with a traditional image of a manger scene, and becomes a prayer that we may look deeper — at our loving God who chose to come into this world as someone who was poor, powerless, in danger, and a refugee. It is a prayer for the church to work for justice as our gift to Jesus.
*Praying for the day when the fighting in Aleppo will be history and not a tragic current event, here is a substitute second line for the fourth verse:
“We see in your world, God, the terror of war.”


About admin

Rev Sandy Boyce is a Uniting Church in Australia Minister (Deacon) in placement at Pilgrim Uniting Church, in Adelaide CBD (12 Flinders St). This blog is mainly to resource worship planners for our services, but of course may be useful for others. We have some great writers of music, words for hymns and liturgy at Pilgrim, so this blog also includes their words.
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