Every year I always notice a few posts online that feature extra verses to familiar carols or the occasional rewrite. Especially when it comes to the familiar stuff of xmas carols I imagine I’ve got the words all wrapped up – it’s genuinely surprising to discover verses to these familiar gems that are completely unknown. This year I’ve collected a few of them for your post-Christmas enjoyment –
\VERSES YOU MIGHT NOT KNOW
HARK! The Herald Angels Sing: From Charles Wesley’s “Hymns and Sacred Poems” published in 1739 most folks don’t know that the original first line was “Hark, how all the welkin rings.” I also enjoy the last two verses that we seldom sing!
vs. 3 Come, Desire of nations, come,Fix in us Thy humble home;Rise, the woman’s conqu’ring Seed,Bruise in us the serpent’s head.Now display Thy saving power,Ruined nature now restore;Now in mystic union joinThine to ours, and ours to Thine.vs. 4 Adam’s likeness, Lord, efface,Stamp Thine image in its place:Second Adam from above,Reinstate us in Thy love.Let us Thee, though lost, regain,Thee, the Life, the inner man:O, to all Thyself impart,Formed in each believing heart.
Once in David’s Royal City: Written as a hymn for children by Cecil Alexander in 1848. Verses 2 and 3 seldom see the light of day.
vs. 2And, through all His wondrous childhood,He would honor and obey,Love and watch the lowly maiden,In whose gentle arms He lay:Christian children all must beMild, obedient, good as He.vs. 3For He is our childhood’s pattern;Day by day, like us He grew;He was little, weak and helpless,Tears and smiles like us He knew;And He feeleth for our sadness,And He shareth in our gladness.
Silent night, holy night,God’s dear Son brings us light,Saving us from death’s dark thrall,Giving life and love to all,Christ, the Light of the world,Christ, the Light of the world.
Where children pure and happyPray to the blessèd Child,Where misery cries out to Thee,Son of the mother mild;Where charity stands watchingAnd faith holds wide the door,The dark night wakes, the glory breaks,And Christmas comes once more.
Joy to those who long to see thee, Dayspring from on high, appear;come, thou promised Rod of Jesse, of thy birth we long to hear!O’er the hills the angels singing news, glad tidings of a birth;“Go to him, your praises bringing; Christ the Lord has come to earth.”Come to earth to taste our sadness, he whose glories knew no end;by his life he brings us gladness, our Redeemer, Shepherd, Friend.Leaving riches without number, born within a cattle stall;this the everlasting wonder, Christ was born the Lord of all.
“Come to us again, King Jesus,make your work in us complete;bring your kingdom in all its fullness,take away our pain and defeat.Stand victorious with all creation,pain and sorrow in their grave;every tongue and every nationbow before the one who saves.
Gently she holds him, deity enshroudedlove comes redeeming our mortal estatesharing our dying, firstborn of our rising.
What child is this who flees with hastefrom Herod’s violent jealousy?His Heavenly Father makes a wayin Egypt for his safety.This, this is Christ the Kingwhom angels guard and sinners sing.Haste, haste to bring Him laud, the babe the Son of MaryHaste, haste to bring Him laud, the babe the Son of God.
Prophets who have ears for hearingMouths that speak things yet to beCome for now the time is nearingSee what you have longed to seeCome and worship, come and worshipWorship Christ, the newborn King!
O West Bank town of Bethlehem,
how still thy victims lie;
the grieving weep, deprived of sleep;
militiamen roam by;
for through thy dark streets rageth
the never-ending fight:
such hopes and fears, such bitter tears
are met in thee tonight.
Mary did you know, that your ancient wordswould still leap off our pages?Mary did you know, that your spirit songwould echo through the ages?Did you know that your holy crywould be subversive word,that the tyrants would be tremblingwhen they know your truth is heard?Mary did you know, that your lullabywould stir your own Child’s passion?Mary did you know, that your song inspiresthe work of liberation?Did you know that your Jubileeis hope within the heartof all who dream of justice,who yearn for it to start?The truth will teach, the drum will sound, healing for the painThe poor will rise, the rich will fall. Hope will live againMary did you know, that we hear your voicefor the healing of the nations?Mary did you know, your unsettling crycan help renew creation?Do you know, that we need your faith,the confidence of you,May the God that you believe in,be so true.Lyrics by Jennifer Henry
1. Away with the fairies theology flies:the little sweet Jesus gets saccharinised.The star and the bright lights look down from my tree,eclipsing the Jesus I’d rather not see.2. The cattle are lowing, the baby awakes,but we, not the ass, sing “no crying he makes”.I love my twee, rose-tinted Jesus, that’s whyI ditch incarnation for pie in the sky.3. Be not near me, Jesus; I ask thee to stayaway in your manger on my Christmas day.Bless all our nice tinsel and glittery stuff,and fit us for Christmas while you’re sleeping rough.Copyright © David Lee, 2011