I considered a more cutting selection for today because sometimes I forget, along with many others, who Christ is, who He chose to consort with, and that His warmest words were for the poor, the outcasts, and those in distress. To those in prosperity and power, his love tended to manifest in harsh words, a needed wake-up call for those willing to hear it.
We risk becoming too comfortable. Sometimes we need a good shaking-up. I believe that God wants us comforted, but not comfortable. Sometimes we need to hear the words He spoke to those who had every worldly reason to be satisfied with themselves.
But as I began to write this post, something told me that this is not the time for shaking. Doubtless that time will come, but maybe I’m not the only one who has had a rough year, and maybe anyone who reads this is in a season where they need to be comforted, not exhorted. We need reminders, too, that we are loved and how much. That is really the message of this season, isn’t it? Love manifest in the coming of the Child of Heaven.
In that spirit, I bring you a gorgeous song that reminds me of how much I am loved, and fills me with gratitude for a gift that I could never deserve. You can read the very long lyrics here, but the version I am posting is much shorter and, I think, more to the point.
The song itself is called “Third Carol for Christmas Day” or “Ye Sons of Men with Me Rejoice” and was recorded in A New Garland Containing Songs for Christmas, by Rev. William Devereux in 1728. It is an Irish carol, and my only encounter with it has been through Maighread Ni Dhomhnaill and Donal Lunny on The Very Best of Celtic Christmas. The album is hit or miss for my tastes, but worth its cost. This song, and “Circle of Joy” are my favorites. As always, please remember that these renditions of songs are under copyright, so if you like them and want to listen to them over and over, do the right thing and purchase them.
Third Carol for Christmas Day,
by Rev. William Devereux, 1728
Ye sons of men with me rejoice,
And praise the Heav’ns with heart and voice,
For joyful tidings you we bring,
Of this Heav’nly Babe, the new born King.
Who from His mighty throne above
Came down to manifest His love
To all such as would Him embrace,
And would be born again in grace.
This mystery for to unfold:
When the King of Kings, He did behold
The poor unhappy state of man,
He sent His own beloved Son.
An angel sent by Heaven’s command
To a spotless virgin in the land;
One of the seed of David, King,
These joyful tidings for to bring.
He hailed this Virgin, full of grace,
And told her that in nine month’s space,
She should bring forth a Son, and He,
The Savior of mankind should be.
Music copyright Maighread ni Dhomhnaill and Donal Lunny, 2004.