By Glory


By Glory

By glory at Christmas,
Raised into God’s light,
Child comes to his planet,
his hard cross in sight.

By glory the angels
praise this One who comes,
tell us that he’s living;
with shepherds we run.

By glory the Gospel,
God’s justice and care,
we love one another,
to do right we dare.

By glory this Jesus,
God’s Immanuel,
with joy as his future,
all darkness dispels.

By glory friend Francis
depicted the birth,
with cradle and oxen,
he joined him to earth.

By glory at midnight
built manger and stall,
and now infant Jesus
is worshipped by all.

Ted Witham
Christmas AD 2011

Metre: 11.11.11.11 anapaestic
(‘Cradle Song’ TiS 318 or ‘Thailand’ TiS 164)

Australian Christmas Tree (Nuytsia floribunda)

When Time Was Set Anew – Christmas


When God’s creation first began,
the planets sing, in orbits go,
rocks and lizards praise One they know,
Word and Wisdom carry God’s plan.
When time was set anew for you,
God refreshed,
Word is born for you.

Women and men danced with their God,
Some loved God still, some lost ways trod -
some fought in hate, stuffed sick with greed.
Some turned their backs on all in need.
When time was set anew….

Then God’s wise Word was incarnate,
Jesus the Son, human-divine.
Word and Wisdom still made the sign:
God still forgives, new life creates.
When time was set anew….

So dear Saint Francis meant to show
the baby Jesus in manger there.
Word and Wisdom were full of care,
In loving Him, more love you’ll know.
When time was set anew….

 Jesus lives, him we choose to adore,
turn from our self-centredness,
in his good time, we will be blessed,
and dance with God for ever more.
When time was set anew…..

 Ted Witham Christmas 2011

Metre 88.88.88 Sussex Carol (TiS 300)
Melita (TiS 138)
St  Petersburg (TiS 375)

THe perichoresis (dance) of the Trinity - sub-atomic particles

 

God in Embryo


God in embryo,
the Universal God
in the womb will grow
as our dear flesh and blood.

New-born baby boy,
Maker of every plan,
new life now deploys,
Human God – Divine Man.

Jesus frees and heals,
compassion is God’s mark;
all our cares he feels,
and lightens up our dark.

God now fixed on Cross,
his glory hid from view,
gains flow from his loss:
new life has come to you.

Tiny speck in womb,
and soon the Cosmic Lord:
Universe makes room –
Today we’re born with God.

Ted Witham 2010
Tune : 5656 ‘Bless the Lord My Soul’ (Taizé) TIS 706

Natal Microcosm (courtesy NASA)

The Christmas Ballad


Once a little baby born in old Bethlehem
Under the shade of the horses’ pepper tree,
And his hands had the prints of the nails, alleluia,
You’ll be a pilgrim, my darling, with me.

You’ll walk to heaven, you’ll walk to heaven,
You’ll walk to heaven alongside me,
And his hands had the prints of the nails, alleluia,
You’ll be a pilgrim, my darling, with me.

It rained all day at the time of his christening,
It brought down blessings for you and me.
And his hands had the prints of the nails, alleluia,
You’ll be a gospeller, my darling, with me.

You’ll tell the story, you’ll tell the story,
You’ll tell the story that sets the world free.
And his hands had the prints of the nails, alleluia,
You’ll be a gospeller, my darling, with me.

Along came old Satan to dry up all the blessing,
And put an end to love that’s true.
And his hands were as smooth as anything that’s empty,
He is a poisoner of the wells for you.

You’ll guard our water, you’ll guard our water,
You’ll guard the springs of community.
And Christ’s hands had the prints of the nails, alleluia,
You’ll keep its love and its purity.

He fought old Satan on top of Hill of Calvary,
He beat him down to his end, you see.
And his hands had the prints of the nails, alleluia,
You’ll laugh for ever, my darling, with me.

You’ll laugh for ever, you’ll laugh for ever,
We’ll laugh together for Jesus is free.
And his hands had the prints of the nails, alleluia,
We’ll laugh for ever, for Jesus is free.

© Ted Witham 1996

Tune: “Waltzing Matilda’

Ballad inspired by Norman Habel and Pro Hart's Outback Christmas

St Francis makes Christmas come alive


Brother Donkey, next to glory,
not an ass, but servant true;
Carries loads and finds in serving
how to live the life made new.

Next to glory, next to glory,
Christ our Jesus the Most High.
Next to glory, Christ our Jesus
comes to live in public eye.

Sister Ewe-sheep, next to glory,
clothes of wool, and meat provides,
bred and born for sacrificing,
generous in her love supplied.

Next to glory, next to glory,
Christ our Jesus the Most High.
Next to glory, Christ our Jesus
comes to live in public eye.

Brother Sheep-dog, next to glory,
faithful friend, who rounds up throngs.
Master’s love evangelises,
and brings us where we belong.

Next to glory, next to glory,
Christ our Jesus the Most High.
Next to glory, Christ our Jesus
comes to live in public eye.

Human baby, next to glory,
plays the role of God with us.
He grows up with Christ as his friend:
Mother’ s joy with others’ blends.

Next to glory, next to glory,
Christ our Jesus the Most High.
Next to glory, Christ our Jesus
comes to live in public eye.

Brother Francis, next to glory,
makes the crib to tell the tale;
each one living has a story:
puts all life on glory’s trail.

Next to glory, next to glory,
Christ our Jesus the Most High.
Next to glory, Christ our Jesus
comes to live in public eye.

Metre: 8787D

Tune:
e.g. Blanwern
OR  “What A Friend We Have in Jesus (Converse)”

© Ted Witham 2008

The first nativity scene at Greccio - Giotto