Here is the wonder, glory of new life (website only)

"... celebrate another birth, no different, yet unique." Image © 2017 iStockphoto LP

Here is the wonder, glory of new life –
a just-born baby, red-faced, crumpled, small.
Creation’s re-creation thrills our souls –
here on the earth our lives are touched by heaven.

Here is the wonder, glory – told again
in tales of angels brushing near the earth,
of wide-eyed shepherds, wise men bearing gifts.
A child is born – the whole earth is renewed.

Here is the wonder, glory – celebrate
another birth, no different, yet unique.
The all-creating force, all power, is here,
self-limited within a human frame.

Here is the wonder, glory of this child;
God comes to show a loving parenthood,
to share our life, to wake our dormant gifts -
the full potential of our hidden best.

© Andrew Brown – December 2009

10.10.10.10

Music © Barbara Honeyball Young Download PDF

Possible alternative tunes: St Agnes (Langram) (StF 235); Supreme sacrifice (StF 698)

Ideas for use

As well as being sung, this is a text that would lend itself to being used as a spoken prayer or being read as a poem during a Christmas service.

There would be value, too, in allowing some time for silent reflection after singing this hymn, to ponder especially on the notion that God’s incarnation is in large part about bringing out the best of our humanness – a best that is within us but is not always sought or shared:

God comes…
to wake our dormant gifts -
the full potential of our hidden best.

More information

One member of the StF+ submissions group observed of Andrew Brown’s hymn that it “succeeds in conveying some of the paradoxes of the incarnation with simplicity and yet imagination”. It is interesting to sit Andrew’s words alongside Charles Wesley’s great Christmas hymn, Let earth and heaven combine (StF 208), in which Wesley, too, seeks to express the mysterious paradox of God incarnate:

our God contracted to a span,
incomprehensibly made man. (v.1)

As Ian Worsfold observes: “Wesley is able to capture such a deep theological concept in such a short space. It is an economy of language that gives you so much.”

Though Andrew would likely blush to be placed in the company of Charles Wesley, nevertheless his aim here of seeing the divine in (literally) down-to-earth form is both comparable and strikingly achieved.

“A just-born baby, red-faced, crumpled, small” gets straight to the remarkable, though not always pretty, reality of human birth; “The all-creating force, all power, is here, / self-limited within a human frame” echoes Wesley’s “contracted to a span” but with distinctly twenty-first century language, and a suggestion of the power of the natural world that is also present in Andrew’s Thank God for life (also website only).

If a phrase or phrases in a hymn cause us see to envisage the divine freshly, or our relationship with God and the world around us differently, then it is its own sermon and seed of evangelism. Some may discover this in a Wesley hymn; some may find a hymn such as this equally helpful.

Andrew Brown has been a Methodist Local Preacher for forty years and is now based in Yorkshire. He says: “I became interested in writing hymn poems in 2003 and am keen to provide words that question and challenge, while remaining true to the good news of God’s love for each individual.”

Categories: 10.10.10.10.10., Brown, Andrew, Christmas, Honeyball Young, Barbara (comp), Hymns only online (submit to stfplus@methodistchurch.org.uk), St Agnes (Langran), Supreme sacrifice.

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