Upon a Hill in Bethlehem (Glory!)

Here is a new song I finished up for our Lessons and Carols service that I originally started in my songwriting class at Duke.  You can read more about the songs origin here.  The song is based in the familiar story of Luke 2 with the Angels and Shepherds.  I was curious to explore how the shepherds would process an angel band showing up in the sky to tell them about the Savior’s coming.  (How shocked were the shepherds to hear angels speaking Bethlehem mountain slang?!  And what about the sheep?  They must have been freaking out.  A flock of sheep can’t have responded very calmly to a host of angels showing up. The line in the song below about sheep reflects both this and a veiled hint to Malachi 4:2). In the spirit of these questions I thought it would be fun to provide a folksier counterpoint to the regal telling of this scene in carol’s like Hark! the Herald Angels Sing.

mp3 | leadsheet

Upon a hill in Bethlehem
The shepherds watched their sheep
And then an angel of the Lord
Did rouse them from their sleep

Chorus:
(women) Glory! our God is highest
(men) Glory! our God is great!
The sheep went leaping, our Savior is sleeping
And all will have peace tonight

“Fear not, you hear the words of men
brought down from heaven above
This very day a Savior born
is Christ the Lord of love.”

“How do you speak in shepherd tongue?”
The men now gave reply
“How do you sing our folksy song
And brighten up our sky?”

For this good news we’ll leave our flock
And venture from the hills
“O Glory, Glory to our God
Let heaven and earth be filled!”

Words and Music: Bruce Benedict, Dec 2011

3 thoughts on “Upon a Hill in Bethlehem (Glory!)

  1. Pingback: CTK Lessons and Carols 2011 | Cardiphonia

  2. Great song, Bruce. Nice, singable melody. I love:

    “How do you speak in shepherd tongue?”
    The men now gave reply
    “How do you sing our folksy song
    And brighten up our sky?”

    I love the underpinnings of the incarnation here. Christ for every man, every woman. His incarnation identifies Him with us, even our “speak.” Great song!

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