While Shepherds Watched Their Flocks…

My favorite Christmas carol as a child was “While Shepherds Watched Their Flocks by Night”. In my mind it told the most spectacular part of the Christmas story, angels appearing in the middle of the night to Shepherds on a hillside.

I was deathly afraid of the dark so the 2nd verse spoke volumes to me.

“Fear not,” said he; for mighty dread had seized their troubled mind.”

I could well image how terrified they must have been to be out in the dark at night and then to be addressed suddenly by an angel.

But fear made way to…“Glad tidings of great joy I bring to you and all mankind”. The angel spoke of a Savior and of peace between God and men.

It was written by Naham Tate, an Irishman, who moved to London in his twenties. He was Poet Laureate of the United Kingdom from 1692 until his death in 1715. He wrote these lyrics in 1700 (approximately).

The tune is by George F. Handel. (1685 – 1759) Probably taken from an aria he wrote in 1728.

Here is a recording of the most familiar version.

While Shepherds Watched Their Flocks (Hymn Charts with Lyrics, Contemporary) – YouTube

Here is another version that is probably almost as old. The tune is “Winchester Old”.

WINCHESTER OLD WHILE SHEPHERD WATCHED THEIR FLOCKS – YouTube

Here is a new version from 2013 by Craig Courtney that is also lovely.

Atlanta Master Chorale | While Shepherds Watched Their Flocks (Courtney) – YouTube

I will finish the list out with one more – “The Yorkshire Version”

While Shepherds Watched – The Yorkshire Version by Stamford Bridge Singers – YouTube

There are many other versions. Sorry if I didn’t mention your favorite.

What was your favorite Christmas carol as a child? Let me know what it was and why.

Hymn #2 – Like a River Glorious

 

Like a River Glorious – Frances R. Havergal / James Mountain

1. Like a river glorious is God’s perfect peace,

Over all victorious in its bright increase

Perfect, yet it floweth fuller every day,

Perfect, yet it growth deeper all the way.

Stayed upon Jehovah, hearts are fully blest;

Finding as He promised, perfect peace and rest. 

2. Hidden in the hollow of His blessed hand,

Never foe can follow, never traitor stand;

Not a surge of worry, not a shade of care,

Not a blast of hurry touch the spirit there.

Stayed upon Jehovah, hearts are fully blest;

Finding as He promised, perfect peace and rest.

3.  Ev’ry joy or trial falleth from above,

traced upon our dial by the Sun of Love.

We may trust Him fully all for us to do;

They who trust Him wholly find Him wholly true.

Stayed upon Jehovah, hearts are fully blest;

Finding as He promised, perfect peace and rest. 

 

 

Hymn #1 – Day by Day

I’ll be posting some hymns from time to time. I’m choosing things that are over 100 years old to avoid copyright infringement. The words will be posted so you can sing along with me. I wish I could hear you.

Day by Day – Sandell Berg / Oscar Ahnfelt

Day by day and with each passing moment, Strength I find to meet my trials here.

Trusting in my Father’s wise bestowment, I’ve no cause for worry or for fear.

He whose heart is kind beyond all measure gives unto each day what He deems best,

Lovingly its part of pain and pleasure, mingling toil with peace and rest.

Every day the Lord Himself is near me with a special mercy for each hour.

All my cares He fain would bear and cheer me, He whose name is Counselor and Pow’r.

The protection of His child and treasure is a charge that on Himself He laid.

“As your days, your strength shall be in measure,” This the pledge to me He made.

Help me then in every tribulation So to trust Your promises, O Lord,

That I lose not faith’s sweet consolation Offered me within Your holy Word.

Help me, Lord, when toil and trouble meeting, E’er to take, as from a Father’s hand,

One by one, the days, the moments fleeting, Till I reach the Promised Land.