The Second Carol of Christmas

      His parents died oversees serving as missionaries when he was six, he was raised by the Moravians and ended up running a radical newspaper which propagated ideas as shocking as abolition! However, on Christmas Eve of 1816 something strikingly different appeared in the radical pages of the Sheffield Iris it was a Christmas poem which began with the dreamy lines:

Angels from the realms of glory,
Wing your flight o'er all the earth,
Ye who sang creation's story,
Now proclaim the Messiah's birth.

   It ended, however with something far more unusual and yet far more profound and in a sense, far more beautiful:

Sinners rung with true repentance,
Doomed for guilt to endless pains,
Justice now revokes your sentence,
Mercy calls you; break your chains.

   Unusual for a Christmas song, yes, but, as someone else wisely pointed out, this verse is fitting as it brings us to remember that Christmas is about far more than just a baby in a manger. How many times do we remember Christmas is about Christ's birth? Probably for those of you who read this blog, all the time. How many times does this recollection lead us to dwell on Christ's redemption? For me, not as much. Sometimes, I fear, Christmas can get us wrapped up far too much in the babe in the stable so much so that we forget the man on the cross. We are so enthralled by angels singing to shepherds that we forget Jesus calling on His Father to 
 "Forgive them for they know not what they do." 

There isn't a recording on youtube which comes even close to doing this beautiful hymn penned by rebel newspaper owner James Montgomery. Someday when I have an accompanist and a proper recording device, or, better yet, when I can accompany myself, I'll do a decent recording of the song with all the right verses and share it with you all, but for now. We shall have to do with this recording sung by a high-school choir. They don't sing all the verses and at some point they deviate from the melody but, I think they do come closest to capturing the beauty of this wonderful Christmas carol. 

 As you listen, read through the full lyrics below and remember why Christ came to earth as a baby in the first place!

Angels from the realms of glory,
Wing your flight o’er all the earth;
Ye who sang creation’s story
Now proclaim Messiah’s birth.
Come and worship, come and worship,
Worship Christ, the newborn King
Shepherds, in the field abiding,
Watching o’er your flocks by night,
God with us is now residing;
Yonder shines the infant light:
Sages, leave your contemplations,
Brighter visions beam afar;
Seek the great Desire of nations;
Ye have seen His natal star.
Saints, before the altar bending,
Watching long in hope and fear;
Suddenly the Lord, descending,
In His temple shall appear.
Sinners, wrung with true repentance,
Doomed for guilt to endless pains,
Justice now revokes the sentence,
Mercy calls you; break your chains.

  This Christmas season let us rejoice because God sent His son born as a baby to redeem us that Justice might revoke the sentence we richly deserved.

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