Saturday, December 24, 2016
LDS Hymn #213
This is possibly one of my most favorite Christmas hymns. It's up there with Away in a Manger for loving it simple for its tune. Sweet and pure, yet it also moves! Love those moving parts. First came to fully embrace this hymn when our 7th grade choir sang the version of this hymn combined with Pachelbel's Canon in D. I loved how well it fit with a classical song I loved. Later in college, my roommate (and the ward choir director) picked the Mack Wilberg arrangement. That is when I learned there were more than the 2 verses we see in our hymnbook, which simply tell the story of the angels. I fell in love with that 3rd verse. Got a copy of that song as soon as I could! (It's the one I have included as the video.) Because of that one verse, this hymn has stood out to me more each Christmas. Last year my choir sang another arrangement, but it still included the 3rd verse. I have had my ward choir sing the Wilberg arrangement. Any time I can have this song sung, I will do so.
From the history book
I knew "Noel" was a French word, but I didn't know that it was related to the Latin word natalis which means "birthday." She points out that the hymn is loved for its simplicity. Agreed. First printed in 1833, the hymn had nine verses! Three of those verses change the focus from the shepherds to the wise men. But my favorite is this one:
Then let us all with one accord
Sing praises to our heavenly Lord
That hath made Heaven and earth of nought
And with his blood mankind has bought.
No information on who wrote the lyrics or the tune, but I am quite grateful they did so that I have this wonderful hymn to sing.