Give thanks now, every one

by chuckofish

A long time ago when I was in second or third grade, I had to sing a solo of “Bring a torch Jennette Isabella” in the school Christmas pageant. I only got picked because I had the appropriate attire, a peasant-looking dark green corduroy jumper, which also happened to be my favorite dress, although by then it was a little on the small side. I was very nervous and my voice quavered, but I got through my performance.

I like the mini angels in the 1515 triptych

I like the mini angels in the 1515 triptych

What I remember most about that event was another song we sang, one that I’d never heard before but loved so much that I sang it over and over until I had the tune memorized. Unfortunately, I didn’t remember the title or most of the words. Every Christmas since then I’ve searched without success for a song about angels standing at His feet and the wise men casting down their royal crowns. Until last week, that is. Thanks to some clever googling, I discovered that the song, called “Jesus, the Christ, is born” is an Appalachian carol, first recorded in Sevier County Tennessee in 1934 (source). Here are the words:

Jesus the Christ is born, Give thanks now, every one. Rejoice, ye great ones and ye small, God’s will, it has been done.

Ye mighty kings of earth, Before the manger bed, Cast down, cast down your golden crown From off your royal head.

For in this lowly guise The son of God do sleep, And see the Queen of Heaven kneel, Her faithful vigil keep.

Two angels at His head, Two angels at His feet Beside His bed the flower red, Perfuming there so sweet.

Jesus the Christ is born, Give thanks now, every one. Rejoice, ye great ones and ye small, God’s will, hit has been done.

I found a couple of recordings on youtube, but the best one by far is this one of the Anne Philips Singers c. 1960.

One more mystery solved. Now if I could just figure out some of the more obscure genealogical conundrums…

Have a wonderful weekend!