Nov 25, 2018 - #4654 Music & the Spoken Word

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Conductor: Mack Wilberg
Organist: Andrew Unsworth
Announcer: Lloyd Newell

“Come, Ye Thankful People, Come”
Music: George J. Elvey
Lyrics: Henry Alford
Arrangement: Mack Wilberg

“All Things Bright and Beautiful”1
Music: John Rutter
Lyrics: Cecil Francis Alexander

“Lift Up Your Heads, O Ye Gates”2 from Messiah
Music: George Frideric Handel

“Menuet gothique” from Suite gothique (Organ solo)
Music: Leon Boellman

“Jesu, the Very Thought Is Sweet”3
Music: Mack Wilberg
Lyrics: Bernard of Clairvaux

“Sing a Christmas Carol”4 from Scrooge
by Leslie Bricusse
Arrangement: Michael Davis

  1. On the CD Peace Like a River and in the CD set Anniversary Collection.
  2. On the CDs Messiah - Complete Oratorio and Messiah - Highlights.
  3. On the CDs Mack Wilberg Requiem and Consider the Lilies and in the CD set  Encore Collection.
  4. On the CD Keep Christmas With You.

The Spoken Word

Joyful Anticipation

This season of the year is a time of joyful anticipation. As summer’s heat gives way to fall’s vibrant colors, as planting and tending become reaping and harvesting, the season of thanks flows quite naturally into a season of generous giving.

Maybe that’s why we look forward so eagerly to Christmastime—because at Christmas we tend to think more of others than ourselves. We extend more love; we offer more kindness; we give more time. We gather with loved ones and open our hearts to hope and faith. Even with winter’s storms ahead, we feel the warmth of joyful anticipation that seems to be unique to Christmas. In fact, it’s a Christmas tradition that goes back centuries.

Long ago, on a quiet, starry night in Bethlehem, the first Christmas became the fulfillment of a long-anticipated promise. Humble shepherds had looked forward to it. Noble Wise Men had awaited it. Indeed, all eternity watched in joyful anticipation, because the promise of Christmas gives us something wondrous to look forward to. It always seems to give us greater perspective, more willingness to set aside less important things, and more hope for good things to come.

So it’s no wonder that Christmas has become the most eagerly anticipated season of the year. Phillips Brooks captured that feeling in these words:

    Everywhere, everywhere, Christmas to-night!

    Christmas in lands of the fir tree and pine,

    Christmas in lands of the palm tree and vine;

    Christmas where snow-peaks stand solemn and white,

    Christmas where corn-fields lie sunny and bright;

    Everywhere, everywhere, Christmas to-night!....

    Christmas where peace, like a dove in its flight,

    Broods o’er brave men in the thick of the fight;

    Everywhere, everywhere, Christmas to-night!

    For the Christ-child who comes is the Master of all,

    No palace too great and no cottage too small.1

Yes, everyone can be touched by the joyful anticipation that Christmas brings. We need only open our hearts to its wonders and our homes to its peace and hope.

  1. “A Christmas Carol,” Christmas Songs and Easter Carols (1903), 17.