July 5, 2020

Christmas in July

Preacher:
Passage: Matthew 2

Bible Text: Matthew 2 | Preacher: Rev. Bruce W. Kemp | Series: Christmas in July | https://youtu.be/Zaa4N52BW8M

The rights to music under licence: CCLI: 1963748

Reverend Bruce Kemp has tried something new this week for the on-line service. The text for the service is now incorporated into the video via powerpoint.

Good news! The church has reopened effective July 5! We look forward to seeing everyone, however if you are not comfortable joining us in person, please enjoy the on-line service!

Christmas in July

SLIDE 4 – ORIGIN OF CHRISTMAS CAROLS

The word Carol means dance or a song of praise and joy! Carols used to be written and sung during all four seasons, but only the tradition of singing them at Christmas has really survived.

In 129, a Roman Bishop said that a song called “Angel’s Hymn” should be sung at a Christmas service in Rome. Another famous early Christmas Hymn was written in 760, by Comas of Jerusalem, for the Greek Orthodox Church. Soon after this many composers all over Europe started to write ‘Christmas carols’. However, not many people liked them as they were all written and sung in Latin, a language that the normal people couldn’t understand. By the time of the Middles Ages (the 1200s), most people had lost interest in celebrating Christmas altogether.

This was changed by St. Francis of Assisi when, in 1223, he started his Nativity Plays in Italy. The people in the plays sang songs or ‘canticles’ that told the story during the plays. Sometimes, the choruses of these new carols were in Latin; but normally they were all in a language that the people watching the play could understand and join in! The new carols spread to France, Spain, Germany, and other European countries.

The earliest carol, like this, was written in 1410. Sadly, only a small fragment of it still exists. The carol was about Mary and Jesus meeting different people in Bethlehem.

SLIDE 5 – CHRISTIANS AWAKE

Christians Awake – 135

We begin our series on Christmas in July with a carol that was inspired by words from Luke 2:8-17. John Byrom was the son of a linen-draper, an old term for a person who owned a business selling bolts of material. John first showed an interest in medicine but decided to pursue a different path and earned a living teaching a system of shorthand that he designed himself. Less than half a dozen of his poems are still in common use. The most famous among them being this carol, “Christians awake”. As a side note, it is believed that he wrote this for his daughter as a Christmas gift.

This carol calls upon us to wake and salute or greet the happy morn whereon the Saviour of the world was born. The story related in Luke 2 is that of the encounter of the shepherds with the angels and their subsequent visit to the manger in Bethlehem.

John finds in this message given to the shepherds a reason for us to sit up and take notice – take notice not only of the way in which the message is delivered but also what the message is – the birth of a child who is both God and man. The union of the seed of God and the womb of a woman is indeed a mystery in and of itself but the even greater mystery for John is the mystery of love – the love of God for we, humanity. God’s love to be revealed more fully as the child grows.

But John does not leave the story of the shepherds at the manger. He encourages us to ponder not just the love expressed in a moment in time but to trace the life of this child as he will move from cradle to cross with the love of God never in doubt.

SLIDE 11 – GO TELL IT ON THE MOUNTAIN

Go Tell it on the Mountain – 133

John Wesley Work who adapted this carol was a pioneer in the study of African American folk music and gave leadership in the performance of spirituals. Along with his brother Frederick, John devoted his life to collecting, arranging and publishing African American slave songs and spirituals.

Among the more famous of these for the season of Christmas is go tell it on the mountain. The faith that inspired the slaves was one that encouraged them to be bold. They might not have had the power to rid themselves of the physical chains that bound them, but they could certainly have the power to rid themselves of any spiritual chains.

Through the message of the Bible, they discovered the great truth of God’s coming in Jesus and they wanted the whole world to know. It was not good enough to just know for yourself, the message had to broadcast from the -highest mountain, over any and every hill – indeed, everywhere. And the simple message was that Jesus Christ was born. This hymn echoes the words of Luke 2 as well, but the final message does not take us to the cross as John’s did but leaves us with the strong assurance that the birth of Jesus was the gift of salvation that blessed Christmas morn.

SLIDE 21 – ‘TWAS IN THE MOON OF WINTERTIME

‘Twas in the Moon of Wintertime – 144

This carol is often seen as a first Canadian carol and among the first carols to tell the story in a way that allowed people who did not grow up with the Christmas story to understand it.
The tune itself remains anonymous but the words were penned by a Jesuit missionary named Jean de Brebeuf. Jean was born in Normandy, France in 1593 and died in Canada near Georgian Bay in 1649. Jean immersed himself in the culture of the indigenous and spent 5 months with them on the St. Charles River. In the spring he left and journeyed to Lake Huron and established the mission where eventually he would lose his life. Several setbacks and political changes caused him to have to leave but he managed to return.

It is distressing to know that despite the great success Jean had working with the Huron tribe, their sworn enemy, the Iroquois, was determined to wipe them out. Jean was caught in a raid on the mission where he was living with the Huron people. Choosing not to leave but to stay with the people he had come to love, Jean suffered a painful death of torture. It is recorded that he never groaned or complained or said anything against those who put him to death.

For Jean, the God who had sent Jesus into the world was the same God that the people of the Huron tribe knew as mighty Gitchi Manitou. Jean wrote the story of the birth of Jesus and used images familiar to the people so that they could understand that the story of Jesus was their story too. The king born so far away was their king.

SLIDE 29 – GOOD CHRISTIANS, ALL REJOICE

Good Christians, all rejoice – 141

Our last carol is so old that there is no date that can be found. Originally in Latin it has come to us accompanied by a German melody from the 14th century for which there is no known author. We have it as one of our carols thanks to the translation efforts of John Neale. John was ordained in the church of England in 1842 but rather than serve in parish ministry, he became warden of Sackville College – a retirement home for poor men. John was able to expand the College to include a ministry to widows and orphans. He also founded the Sisterhood of St. Margaret – a training order for nurses.

He was never recognized during his lifetime for his contributions to the music worship of the church, but his work endures as several his translations are still in use today.

Like our first carol, this one encourages us to be awake and rejoice with heart and soul and voice. First we are to see Christ in the manger, then to see that Christ has opened the door of heaven to us and finally to remember that not even the grave is to be feared for we have been called to the everlasting hall of heaven. Christ was born for this and Christ was born to save.

The rights to music under licence: CCLI: 1963748

Reverend Bruce Kemp has tried something new this week for the on-line service. The text for the service is now incorporated into the video via powerpoint.

Good news! The church has reopened effective July 5! We look forward to seeing everyone, however if you are not comfortable joining us in person, please enjoy the on-line service!

Christmas in July

SLIDE 4 – ORIGIN OF CHRISTMAS CAROLS

The word Carol means dance or a song of praise and joy! Carols used to be written and sung during all four seasons, but only the tradition of singing them at Christmas has really survived.

In 129, a Roman Bishop said that a song called "Angel's Hymn" should be sung at a Christmas service in Rome. Another famous early Christmas Hymn was written in 760, by Comas of Jerusalem, for the Greek Orthodox Church. Soon after this many composers all over Europe started to write 'Christmas carols'. However, not many people liked them as they were all written and sung in Latin, a language that the normal people couldn't understand. By the time of the Middles Ages (the 1200s), most people had lost interest in celebrating Christmas altogether.

This was changed by St. Francis of Assisi when, in 1223, he started his Nativity Plays in Italy. The people in the plays sang songs or 'canticles' that told the story during the plays. Sometimes, the choruses of these new carols were in Latin; but normally they were all in a language that the people watching the play could understand and join in! The new carols spread to France, Spain, Germany, and other European countries.

The earliest carol, like this, was written in 1410. Sadly, only a small fragment of it still exists. The carol was about Mary and Jesus meeting different people in Bethlehem.

SLIDE 5 – CHRISTIANS AWAKE

Christians Awake - 135

We begin our series on Christmas in July with a carol that was inspired by words from Luke 2:8-17. John Byrom was the son of a linen-draper, an old term for a person who owned a business selling bolts of material. John first showed an interest in medicine but decided to pursue a different path and earned a living teaching a system of shorthand that he designed himself. Less than half a dozen of his poems are still in common use. The most famous among them being this carol, “Christians awake”. As a side note, it is believed that he wrote this for his daughter as a Christmas gift.

This carol calls upon us to wake and salute or greet the happy morn whereon the Saviour of the world was born. The story related in Luke 2 is that of the encounter of the shepherds with the angels and their subsequent visit to the manger in Bethlehem.

John finds in this message given to the shepherds a reason for us to sit up and take notice – take notice not only of the way in which the message is delivered but also what the message is – the birth of a child who is both God and man. The union of the seed of God and the womb of a woman is indeed a mystery in and of itself but the even greater mystery for John is the mystery of love – the love of God for we, humanity. God’s love to be revealed more fully as the child grows.

But John does not leave the story of the shepherds at the manger. He encourages us to ponder not just the love expressed in a moment in time but to trace the life of this child as he will move from cradle to cross with the love of God never in doubt.

SLIDE 11 – GO TELL IT ON THE MOUNTAIN

Go Tell it on the Mountain – 133

John Wesley Work who adapted this carol was a pioneer in the study of African American folk music and gave leadership in the performance of spirituals. Along with his brother Frederick, John devoted his life to collecting, arranging and publishing African American slave songs and spirituals.

Among the more famous of these for the season of Christmas is go tell it on the mountain. The faith that inspired the slaves was one that encouraged them to be bold. They might not have had the power to rid themselves of the physical chains that bound them, but they could certainly have the power to rid themselves of any spiritual chains.

Through the message of the Bible, they discovered the great truth of God’s coming in Jesus and they wanted the whole world to know. It was not good enough to just know for yourself, the message had to broadcast from the -highest mountain, over any and every hill – indeed, everywhere. And the simple message was that Jesus Christ was born. This hymn echoes the words of Luke 2 as well, but the final message does not take us to the cross as John’s did but leaves us with the strong assurance that the birth of Jesus was the gift of salvation that blessed Christmas morn.

SLIDE 21 – ‘TWAS IN THE MOON OF WINTERTIME

‘Twas in the Moon of Wintertime - 144

This carol is often seen as a first Canadian carol and among the first carols to tell the story in a way that allowed people who did not grow up with the Christmas story to understand it.
The tune itself remains anonymous but the words were penned by a Jesuit missionary named Jean de Brebeuf. Jean was born in Normandy, France in 1593 and died in Canada near Georgian Bay in 1649. Jean immersed himself in the culture of the indigenous and spent 5 months with them on the St. Charles River. In the spring he left and journeyed to Lake Huron and established the mission where eventually he would lose his life. Several setbacks and political changes caused him to have to leave but he managed to return.

It is distressing to know that despite the great success Jean had working with the Huron tribe, their sworn enemy, the Iroquois, was determined to wipe them out. Jean was caught in a raid on the mission where he was living with the Huron people. Choosing not to leave but to stay with the people he had come to love, Jean suffered a painful death of torture. It is recorded that he never groaned or complained or said anything against those who put him to death.

For Jean, the God who had sent Jesus into the world was the same God that the people of the Huron tribe knew as mighty Gitchi Manitou. Jean wrote the story of the birth of Jesus and used images familiar to the people so that they could understand that the story of Jesus was their story too. The king born so far away was their king.

SLIDE 29 – GOOD CHRISTIANS, ALL REJOICE

Good Christians, all rejoice – 141

Our last carol is so old that there is no date that can be found. Originally in Latin it has come to us accompanied by a German melody from the 14th century for which there is no known author. We have it as one of our carols thanks to the translation efforts of John Neale. John was ordained in the church of England in 1842 but rather than serve in parish ministry, he became warden of Sackville College – a retirement home for poor men. John was able to expand the College to include a ministry to widows and orphans. He also founded the Sisterhood of St. Margaret – a training order for nurses.

He was never recognized during his lifetime for his contributions to the music worship of the church, but his work endures as several his translations are still in use today.

Like our first carol, this one encourages us to be awake and rejoice with heart and soul and voice. First we are to see Christ in the manger, then to see that Christ has opened the door of heaven to us and finally to remember that not even the grave is to be feared for we have been called to the everlasting hall of heaven. Christ was born for this and Christ was born to save.