Friday, December 16, 2016
LDS Hymn #204
(Isn't this arrangement wonderful?!)
A well-beloved hymn. I grew up knowing its origin story because John Denver tells in on the John Denver and the Muppets Christmas album. Written on a guitar, the tune is very simple--a few chords that get repeated. I think its simplicity is what adds to its charm, lovability, and universal adoration. The lyrics are wonderful. Verse 1 is about the mother and the Baby. Verse 2 grows the circle a bit more and its the shepherds and angels. Verse 3 hones in on the Baby while broadening the story at the same time, for it is about what that Baby will do for all mankind--redeem each of us.
From the history book
It tells the origin story that the organ broke on Christmas Eve. The priest Joseph Mohr had written words, so he took the words to organist Franz Gruber to write an accompaniment with his guitar. They performed it that evening. It was 1818. It spread all over the world. Truly an inspiration from God to these two men to so quickly create a piece that could resonate in the hearts of so many. Apprently there were 7 verses, but we only sing 1, 6, and 2. I am all right that they changed the order so 2 is the last one we sing.