Sunday 25 December 2016

Shepherds, Rejoice!

I’ve been reading a book on Isaac Watts recently, and wanted to post one of his carols for Christmas day. His ‘Joy to the World’ is familiar to many, but the one below is not so well known. I like that it tells a story of sorts. The first two stanzas are spoken by the angel Gabriel, then comes the response of the heavenly choir in stanza 3, followed by our call to praise in stanza 4.

‘Shepherds, rejoice! lift up your eyes
And send your fears away;
News from the region of the skies:
Salvation’s born today!
Jesus, the God whom angels fear,
Comes down to dwell with you;
Today he makes his entrance here,
But not as monarchs do.

‘No gold, nor purple swaddling bands,
Nor royal shining things;
A manger for his cradle stands,
And holds the King of kings.
Go, shepherds, where the Infant lies,
And see his humble throne;
With tears of joy in all your eyes,
Go, shepherds, kiss the Son.’

Thus Gabriel sang, and straight around
The heavenly armies throng;
They tune their harps to lofty sound
And thus conclude the song:
‘Glory to God that reigns above,
Let peace surround the earth;
Mortals shall know their Maker’s love
At their Redeemer's birth.’

Lord! and shall angels have their songs
And men no tunes to raise?
O may we lose these useless tongues
When they forget to praise!
‘Glory to God that reigns above,
That pitied us forlorn!’
We join to sing our Maker’s love,
For there’s a Saviour born.

Words by Isaac Watts (1674-1748).

No comments: