Tag Archives: Mary

X Factor in reverse … God’s teenage choice at Christmas

I’m reposting this from 2009 because it has proved overwhelmingly the most popular thing I have ever posted and this year’s X-Factor has just ended with yet another poor soul promised a glorious future that may well come to nothing.
And yet again the story of Mary remains more powerful.
Thanks to https://assemblyideas.wordpress.com/2009/12/15/christmas-x-factor-talk-gods-choice-at-christmas/ whose selection of this as a top school assembly has driven traffic to my site day after day since Advent began.

All Creation Sings

Last weekend just about a third of the population of Britain watched the final of the X Factor, Simon Cowell’s talent show juggernaut. I’m not going to take cheap shots at those who watch because I’ve sat in most Saturdays and been part of the audience.

Like Sting, I think it’s damaging to the creative energy that the music world has thrived on for decades, but X Factor more to my taste than Strictly Come Dancing (and it doesn’t have Bruce Forsyth).

But now the winner has been decided, we are being told that 18-year-old Joe McElderry is going to have a stellar  career on top of the £1 million recording contract he’s signed as the winner of X Factor. Will he? Only time will tell and time hasn’t exactly been generous to many winners of TV talent shows: indeed it seems to be more of an advantage to come second.

But…

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Heaven’s waiting room: a hymn

Broken door small

I know we’re in the waiting season still, but many churches and communities are knee deep in straw and tinsel for carol services. Here is a Christmas carol I wrote some years ago reflecting on the various themes of waiting:

  • Mary waiting for the birth
  • the shepherds waiting and being sent to the baby
  • the Magi searching for ages for what the star meant
  • ourselves waiting for justice and peace

The folk tune Scarlet Ribbons works well with the text or you can use the melody from the 1960s pop song The Carnival is Over. As it’s an 8787D (for those who understand hymn metres) it will work with lots of other tunes too.

Mary in the stable waiting.

hears again the angel’s voice:

‘favoured one the Lord is with you,

all Creation sings: ‘Rejoice!’

Mary waits, and heaven wonders,

at the Prince of Glory’s birth

from her womb, inside that stable,

heaven’s waiting room on earth.

 

Shepherds waiting on the mountain,

Wise Men searching for a sign,

hear that outcasts can be welcomed

at the baby Jesus’ side.

So the earth’s unlikely pilgrims

find themselves upon their knees

and a teenage mother watches

as they hail a refugee.

 

Son of God and hope of heaven,

with the waiting ones on earth,

we expect a world of diff’rence

when your justice comes to birth.

So the world is waiting, hoping

for the promised day to dawn;

when our longings find fulfilment

through the babe in Bethlehem born.

Copyright © Gareth Hill Publishing/Song Solutions CopyCare, 14 Horsted Square, Uckfield, TN22 1QG www.songsolutions.org

Three hymns for Christmas

If you’re planning worship over Christmas, here are three contemporary hymns you may want to consider. As usual, they are written to go with known tunes, although there is an original tune written for Mary in the stable waiting.

You can include them in your CCLI returns as well.

Mary in the stable waiting.

hears again the angel’s voice:

‘favoured one the Lord is with you,

all Creation sings: ‘Rejoice!’

Mary waits, and heaven wonders,

at the Prince of Glory’s birth

from her womb, inside that stable,

heaven’s waiting room on earth.

 

Shepherds waiting on the mountain,

Wise Men searching for a sign,

hear that outcasts can be welcomed

at the baby Jesus’ side.

So the earth’s unlikely pilgrims

find themselves upon their knees

and a teenage mother watches

as they hail a refugee.

 

Son of God and hope of heaven,

with the waiting ones on earth,

we expect a world of diff’rence

when your justice comes to birth.

So the world is waiting, hoping

for the promised day to dawn;

when our longings find fulfilment

through the babe in Bethlehem born.

Metre      8.7.8.7.D

Recommended tune: The Carnival is Over, Scarlet Ribbons or an appropriate traditional tune

Copyright © Gareth Hill Publishing/Song Solutions CopyCare, 14 Horsted Square, Uckfield, TN22 1QG www.songsolutions.org

 

The mystery of God on high

lies wrapped in frail humanity.

The Word of truth is now revealed

and echoes in a baby’s cry.

Here as we celebrate and sing

Be born in us, our Lord and King.

 

As shepherds bring their gifts to him

who left behind his majesty,

the shadow of a cross is seen

against the star-lit eastern sky.

Here as we celebrate and sing

Be born in us, our Lord and King.

 

Glory and grace are laid in straw

while hosts of angels testify.

A stable for the Son of God:

his mother sees and wonders “Why?”

Here as we celebrate and sing

Be born in us, our Lord and King.

 

The paradox of Bethlehem

is captured in that mother’s sigh.

As God, who brought a world to life,

must learn to live and then to die.

Here as we celebrate and sing

Be born in us, our Lord and King.

 

And all the dreams we dare to own

find refuge in this baby’s eyes;

we see the truth of God revealed

in one who laid his glory by.

Here as we celebrate and sing

Be born in us, our Lord and King.

Recommended tune: Companion

Copyright © Gareth Hill Publishing/Song Solutions CopyCare, 14 Horsted Square, Uckfield, TN22 1QG www.songsolutions.org

 

We do not look for angel choirs

or visions in the sky,

but simply pray that peace on earth

comes nearer through the Christ child’s birth

in Bethlehem for us,

in Bethlehem for us. 

 

We do not look for frankincense

or wise ones at our door

but simply ask our prayers be heard

and that our restless hearts be stirred

by Jesus’ newborn cry,

by Jesus’ newborn cry.

 

We will not rest until we know

that God makes all things new;

until our search for answered prayer

transforms the lives of all who dare

to put their trust in you,

to put their trust in you.

 

But still you send us songs of peace

and wisdom whispers near.

You call us to the way of Christ,

that in our living hope will rise

from Bethlehem to here,

from Bethlehem to here.

Recommended tune: Repton

Copyright © Gareth Hill Publishing/Song Solutions CopyCare, 14 Horsted Square, Uckfield, TN22 1QG www.songsolutions.org