“The Lamb” by William Blake

John Tavener’s arrangement of “The Lamb,” a poem written by William Blake in the late 18th century, touched me deeply this Christmas season. See lyrics below. This is the Choir of King’s College, Cambridge singing Tavener’s arrangement in 2014.

Little Lamb, who made thee?
Dost thou know who made thee?
Gave thee life, and bid thee feed,
By the stream and o’er the mead;
Gave thee clothing of delight,
Softest clothing, woolly, bright;
Gave thee such a tender voice,
Making all the vales rejoice?
Little Lamb, who made thee?
Dost thou know who made thee?

Little Lamb, I’ll tell thee,
Little Lamb, I’ll tell thee.
He is called by thy name,
For He calls Himself a Lamb.
He is meek, and He is mild;
He became a little child.
I a child, and thou a lamb,
We are called by His name.
Little Lamb, God bless thee!
Little Lamb, God bless thee!

William Blake was an English Romantic poet and painter who lived from 1757 until 1827. This poem was first published in Songs of Innocence in 1789.

[First posted in May 2010. Thanks to Paul S. for sharing a link to a 2008 recording of King’s Choir. ]

A Festival of Nine Lessons and Carols — December 24, 2019

a5d46-kingscollegechapelSince 1918, a Festival of Nine Lessons and Carols has been a special Christmas Eve service held in King’s College Chapel in Cambridge, England. Now in it’s 101st year, it is broadcast to millions of people around the world. The service is always opened with “Once in Royal David’s City” followed by many other traditional carols, interspersed by Bible readings.

Construction of King’s College Chapel began in A.D. 1446 under King Henry VI, and was opened in A.D. 1515 under the reign of Henry VIII.

You can read more about the service here and listen live here (8:00 a.m. to 9:30 a.m. MST, December 24, 2019).

Dashing Down the Aisles

Santa pushing a shopping cart.To the tune of “Jingle Bells.”

Dashing down the aisles,
with a three-wheeled shopping cart.
I always wait too long.
It isn’t very smart.

Cash registers ring,
Making wallets light.
Oh what a thrill it is to be
shopping late tonight.

Oh, I feel bad, my family’s mad,
I think I’ve lost my mind.
Too late to shop on Amazon
I’m always way behind. Hey!

Full of  doubt, all stressed out
The time has slipped away.
What a drag it is to shop
the brick-and-mortar way.

Michael James Fitzgerald

“There Is Faint Music” by Dan Forrest — University of Utah Singers

I love this performance of Dan Forrest’s “There Is Faint Music” by the University of Utah Singers conducted by Dr. Brady Allred.

There is faint music in the night
and pale wings fanned by silver flight.
A frosty hill with tender glow
of countless stars that shine on snow.

A shelter from the winter storm,
a straw-lined manger safe and warm,
and Mary singing lullabies
to hush her Baby’s sleepy sighs.

Her eyes are fixed upon His face,
unheeded here is time and space.
Her heart is filled with blinding joy
for God’s own Son, her baby boy.

Of countless stars that shine on snow
for God’s own Son, her baby boy.

[First posted in December 2015.]

“In the Bleak Midwinter” Performed by James Taylor

I love James Taylor’s arrangement of “In the Bleak Midwinter.” Courtesy of Spotify.

 

In the bleak midwinter,
icy wind made moan.
Earth stood hard as iron,
water like a stone.
Snow on snow had fallen,
snow on snow on snow,
in the bleak midwinter,
long and long ago.

Angels and archangels,
may have gathered there,
cherubim and seraphim
rising  in the air.
Oh but only Mary,
in her maiden bliss
worshiped the Beloved
with a mother’s kiss.

Heaven cannot hold Him
nor can earth sustain.
Heaven and earth shall fall away
when He comes to reign.

What then can I give him,
empty as I am?
If I were a shepherd,
I would bring a lamb.
If I were a wise man,
I would know my part.
What then can I give Him
I must give my heart.

[First posted in December 2015.]

Free Audio Recording of Charles Dickens’s A Christmas Carol

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Here’s a free, dramatic reading of one of my favorite Christmas books, Charles Dickens’s A Christmas Carol. (I wrote about A Christmas Carol in a previous post.) The award-winning Carol is narrated wonderfully by Bruce Newbold, with Bryce Chamberlain, the father in the original 1964 version of Man’s Search for Happiness, playing a convincing Scrooge. I listened to the whole thing in one day (it’s 3 1/2 hours long). It’s downloadable by the way. An undeniable classic.

[An earlier version of this post was first published in December 2017.]