Music is one of the most wonderful aspects of the Christmas season. The songs of hope, joy and love span centuries and countries, and when we sing these words or listen to these carols, we join with other believers who in other times and in other places worshiped God with the same music. This is the first of a series of posts I did last year on Christmas carols that I’ll be bringing back for you to listen to and enjoy.
“Lo, How A Rose E’er Blooming” is an English Christmas carol based on a beautiful 15th century German song. The opening lyrics refer to God’s promise to David, the son of Jesse, that Messiah would come from his lineage, and that of His kingdom there would be no end.
“And there shall come forth a rod out of the stem of Jesse,
and a Branch shall grow out of his roots:
And the spirit of the LORD shall rest upon him,
the spirit of wisdom and understanding,
the spirit of counsel and might,
the spirit of knowledge and of the fear of the LORD;
And shall make him of quick understanding in the fear of the LORD:
and he shall not judge after the sight of his eyes,
neither reprove after the hearing of his ears:
But with righteousness shall he judge the poor,
and reprove with equity for the meek of the earth:
and he shall smite the earth: with the rod of his mouth,
and with the breath of his lips shall he slay the wicked.
And righteousness shall be the girdle of his loins,
and faithfulness the girdle of his reins.”
Isaiah 11:1–5 KJV
If you have ever sung in a choir, you know that poignant expression of music is not limited to performances. There are moments of unexpected wonder when words and melody give serendipitous voice to the heart. That’s why I love this self-recorded group of college guys singing a cappella, outside in the cold.
“Lo, how a Rose e’er blooming from tender stem hath sprung!
Of Jesse’s lineage coming, as men of old have sung.
It came, a floweret bright, amid the cold of winter,
When half spent was the night.
“Isaiah ’twas foretold it, the Rose I have in mind;
With Mary we behold it, the virgin mother kind.
To show God’s love aright, she bore to men a Savior,
When half spent was the night.”