Hallelujah the earth replies

by chuckofish

The Star of Bethlehem by Burne-Jones

Today is Epiphany which marks the final celebratory day of Christmas. So let’s all sing “We Three Kings,” which was written by John Henry Hopkins Jr. in 1857. At the time of composing the carol, Hopkins served as the rector of Christ Episcopal Church in Williamsport, PA. He wrote it for a Christmas pageant. It was the first widely popular Christmas carol written in America. (Bonus fun fact: Hopkins gave the eulogy at the funeral of President Ulysses Grant in 1885.)

We all learned this hymn as four-year olds for our first Christmas pageant, which back in the day, was in school. We thought it was very cool–so dramatic and kind of spooky with the gathering doom–and all that sorrowing, sighing, bleeding, dying. I think they turned off the lights and we turned on our little candle-looking flashlights for a special effect. There was no misunderstanding the end of the story for the baby in the manger. Here’s the BYU men’s chorus singing it:

Meanwhile I have packed up all of my Christmas decorations and taken them to the basement. However, I keep finding strays…

This always happens. C’est la vie.

If you are in need of a spiritual pick-me-up, I recommend watching The Inn of the Sixth Happiness (1958) which tells the story of the real-life Gladys Aylward (1902-70), a former English domestic who became a Christian missionary in China in the 1930s.

In 1940 she shepherded more than 100 children over the mountains to safety at the height of the Sino-Japanese war. Ingrid Bergman is 100% believable as the missionary and her relationship with Curt Jergens as the Chinese Colonel, although embellished, is very romantic. Robert Donat, in his final role, is terrific. What can I say, when I watched it last night, I cried through the whole movie. (Some time ago I read the book by Alan Burgess, The Small Woman, on which the film is based, and it is very good too.)

This weekend we will celebrate daughter #3’s birthday which is actually today–bonne anniversaire!–thus wrapping up all the family birthday’s between November 28 and today.

I pray for the day ahead and that I might bring Glory to God, in word, thought and deed. I thank God that his mercies are new to me every morning. I thank God that his grace is sufficient for all situations that I may encounter.