Who Is He in Yonder Stall?

Benjamin Russell Hanby is probably best known in popular society, if at all, for the great yawner, “Up On the Housetop” (click, click, click…), that merry paean to “Old Saint Nick” often sung at the yuletide.

But Hanby had a deeper side. In fact, he wrote one of the clearest expositions of the life and work of Christ that is available in easily accessible song, “Who Is He in Yonder Stall.”

Who is He in yonder stall
At whose feet the shepherds fall?
Who is He, in deep distress,
Fasting in the wilderness?

Refrain:

‘Tis the Lord, O wondrous story!
‘Tis the Lord, the King of glory;
At His feet, we humbly fall,
Crown Him, crown Him Lord of all!

Who is He the people bless?
For His words of gentleness?
Who is He to whom they bring?
All the sick and sorrowing?

(Refrain)

Who is He that stands and weeps
At the grave where Lazarus sleeps?
Who is He the gathering throng
Greet with loud triumphant song?

(Refrain)

Lo, at midnight who is He
Prays in dark Gethsemane?
Who is He on yonder tree
Dies in grief and agony?

(Refrain)

Who is He that from the grave
Comes to heal and help and save?
Who is He that from his throne
Rules through all the world alone?

Refrain:

‘Tis the Lord, O wondrous story!
‘Tis the Lord, the King of glory;
At His feet, we humbly fall,
Crown Him, crown Him Lord of all!

I prefer hearing this sung as a series of questions posed by various choirs and soloists with the refrain sung once at the end in answer to all the questions posed, but that’s not how Hanby wrote it, so usually when I selected this hymn for use, I’d just have the congregation sing it as Hanby wrote it: one verse (question) and the answer repeated again and again in the refrain.

It’s a simple story, simply told and easily grasped.

‘Tis the Lord, O wondrous story!
‘Tis the Lord, the King of glory;
At His feet, we humbly fall,
Crown Him, crown Him Lord of all!

Here’s an excerpt of the song as performed (I think–don’t hold me to this) in the early 1990s by the Moody Bible Institute choir/band:



Click here for standalone player


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A 15th Century Christmas Message

Today’s Christmas-related post is clipped from Chip Stam’s “Worship Quote of the Week.” Click the link to subscribe.


FIFTEENTH-CENTURY CHRISTMAS SERMON

Seek the Lord, while he may be found; call on him, while he is near” (Isa. 55:6). Arise, all you faithful of Christ: eagerly gather for this reverent observance of the Lord’s birth. For this is the most holy night on which the Redeemer of the world, Jesus Christ, chose to be born of the glorious Virgin Mary. Arise, therefore, all, and watch. Prepare your hearts and pray. The Lord has come. Come and adore. Seek Jesus, and you will find him. Knock at the door and it will be opened to you. Enter the house and you will see. Our King has arrived. Christ has been born to us. Come, let us adore and fall down before him: for he it is who made us. Come, you angels and archangels: chant and rejoice and sing psalms. Be glad, you just in the Lord: sing a hymn to our God. Proclaim his works among the nations. God has come in the flesh. He who is never away from us in the divine is with us in human nature. Come, little and great, old and aged, youths and maidens: sing to the Lord a new song, for he has done wonders this day. Lift up your hearts with your hands to heaven and above all rejoicing give glory to his praise.

The Lord is with us: do not be sad. Put on the garments of gladness and joy, you chosen ones of God. Cast away the works of darkness, and put on the armor of light. As in the light of day, so let us watch this sacred night. Let us rejoice and exult. Let us sing songs and hymns. Let us praise God our Savior. Let us offer him our vows. Let us present him the service of our mouth, The Lord is with us, depart not, weary not, but stand strongly, and sing psalms to him with cheerfulness. . . .

Therefore be glad and rejoice, daughter of Zion. Give praise, O Jerusalem. For this day true peace has come down from heaven to appease and restore the things that are in heaven and the things that are on earth. This day the true Light has shone on the earth to enlighten everyone that believes in him. This day there is great joy in Israel, for Christ is born in Bethlehem. This day throughout the world the heavens are flowing with honey; for from the mouth of the learned comes very sweet speeches by which the weak are refreshed, the devout consoled, the ignorant instructed, the slothful aroused, the faithful strengthened, and unbelievers put to shame.

Today the angels rejoice, the archangels exult, and all the just are expressing adoration and spiritual joy. Today night is turned into day and great brightness, for to those with righteous hearts a light has risen up in darkness, the merciful and compassionate Lord. . . . And when the day shall have dawned, may the Sun of Justice, who is born shine in the hearts of all those who love him, and may fresh devotion again rise in the hearts of all who celebrate. . . .

O blessed and joyful birth, which has changed the curse of our first parents into blessing and has turned their grief into everlasting joy. This night is truly worthy of the awe and love of all people, the night in which Christ permitted himself to be delivered in order to deliver all.

Blessed therefore be the holy Trinity, by whose goodness and wisdom the dignity of humanity has been restored and the cunning of the devil deceived. I bless you, heavenly Father, who sent your beloved Son into the world for our redemption. I bless you only-begotten Son of God, Jesus Christ, who to redeem us assumed our nature. I bless you, Holy Spirit, the paraclete, who gloriously and wondrously perfected all the mysteries of our redemption from the beginning to the end. To you be infinite praise and glory, to you be honor and empire, O supreme, eternal Trinity, by whose providence and ordering so sweet and solemn a festival has come to us. Amen.

—Thomas à Kempis (1380-1471), from Proclaiming the Christmas Gospel: Ancient Sermons and Hymns for Contemporary Christian Inspiration. Edited by John D. Witvliet and David Vroege. Grand Rapids: Baker Books, 2004, pages 102-4. ISBN 0-8010-6405-8.

Linked to the Christmas Alliance and submitted to the Carnival of Christmas.


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Send the Grinches a Christmas Card? Maybe…

Crossposted from Stop The ACLU

It’s become a popular yearly tradition now to send the Anti-Christian Liars Union grinches a Christmas card. I personally think its ineffective, and that the money you waste on a stamp for the organization to toss in the shredder would be better served towards a good cause. So, I encourage you to save that money, dig a little deeper, and contribute to an organization that fights the ACLU and defends Christmas. The Alliance Defense Fund, and the ACLJ are both great organizations that defend Christmas each year. The Alliance Defense Fund does it for free. Why not help groups like that out this year?

However, from experience last year…I know that many will insist on sending the ACLU a Christmas card. After all, it is tradition. If that is how you want to make your message…we have some great greeting cards and postcards available at our online store. Plenty of other great Christmas gifts too.

Send your Christmas card to the ACLU at:

ACLU
125 Broad Street
18th Floor
New York , NY 10004

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I love these little Christmas tree ornaments

No, I am not blogging in my pajamas.

I don’t wear any.

Strange thing. (Did I already post about this? Well, too bad if I did. I’m too lazy to go and check.) After all these years, I may have finally found the solution to the problem, Christmas Tree+ Cats=Disaster Waiting to Happen.

I found these neat little Christmas tree decorations at Dollar General. Little mechanical thingies that the cats apparently don’t like and, with the addition of a string of habanero peppers, strung like popcorn or cranberries, have served to keep them away from the tree.

Try it. I think you’ll find that these little Christmas tree decorations (for some strange reason they are called “mouse traps”) really are disliked by felines… Some assembly (and disassembly) required. (Just loosen the spring on one side and paint ’em red or green or gold or whatever.)