Some of my fondest Christmas memories are of carol services at the local parish church in Ilkley, Yorkshire. The crowd that spilled out from the surrounding pubs swelled the regular congregation because it was, after all, Christmas Eve.
There is little doubt that those occasions provided the vicar with a terrific Gospel opportunity. Even when the sermon was cloudy, the lyrics of the carols were clear – none more so than the seldom sung hymn, Once in Royal David’s City.
The writer, Cecil Frances Alexander, was the wife of William who became the Bishop for all of the Anglican churches in Ireland.
Cecil taught Sunday school and wrote songs to enable the children to understand the Bible. To help them understand the atonement, she wrote There Is a Green Hill Far Away. For creation, she provided All Things Bright and Beautiful and on being a disciple, she scripted “Jesus calls us o’er the tumult of our life’s wild, restless sea; day by day his sweet voice soundeth, saying, ‘Christian, follow me!’”
In distilling the essence of the incarnation, she is arguably at her best; she moves from His birth to His return, affirming His identity is God and Lord of all, Redeemer and ascended King.
The benefit provided by her writing is on account of the fact that it is thoroughly biblical and wonderfully singable. Look for Once in Royal David’s City sung by the Choir of King’s College Cambridge and thank God for the gift He gave to Cecil to pen these words in 1848. (The oldies are the goodies!)
To help you distill the truths of the Bible for your children, we’re making available a book this month titled Everything a Child Should Know About God. I recommend it highly because it does a good job introducing small children to Jesus and explains salvation in a way that the little ones can understand. If you’re still shy a Christmas gift or two, this one fits the bill nicely.
With my warmest Christmas blessings and love in the Lord Jesus,
Topics: Letters From Alistair Begg