10 December 2012

Sing We All of Christmas: Break Forth, O Beauteous Heavenly Light

The five people who crafted this hymn's text and tune and brought it to its current state spanned nearly four hundred years, and were all given some form of the name John:  John, Johann, Johnson.  Arranged by Johann Sebastian Bach, each line has the interest and movement of seen in his famous four-part chorales.
Some of us long for sunlight in winter, but this hymn speaks of a Light we can have any time, no matter how dense the fog that seems to surround us.
Break forth, O beauteous heavenly light,
And usher in the morning;
Ye shepherds, shrink not with affright,
But hear the angel's warning.
This Child, now weak in infancy,
Our confidence and joy shall be,
The power of Satan breaking,
Our peace eternal making.
Break forth, O beauteous heavenly light,
Go herald our salvation;
He stoops to earth--the God of might,
Our hope and expectation.
He comes in human flesh to dwell,
Our God with us, Immanuel,
The night of darkness breaking,
Our fallen race befriending.
(Seventh-day Adventist Hymnal, 128; v.1 text by Johann Wrist; v.2 text by Norman E. Johnson; ERMUNTRE DICH, tune, by Johann Schop; arranged by J. S. Bach; v.1 translated by John Troutbeck.)
(Winter photo of light reflecting on the river nearby.)

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