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Also see 30+ Ideas for Promoting Hymn Singing in your church. As others have contributed ideas, this wonderful resource has grown to over 80 items now. And, for more than three dozen reasons why congregations should still use hymn books rather than merely projecting words on the wall, see The Value of Hymn Books.
Words: Audrey Mae Mieir (b. May 12, 1916; d. Nov. 5, 1996)
Music: Audrey Mae Mieir
Note: This blog is mainly about our traditional hymns and gospel songs, but I’ve included choruses here and there, and this is a fine one. As for the creator, Meyer was a singer-songwriter and choral conductor, writing her first song when she was only sixteen.
Many births are highly anticipated. If it’s the couple’s first child, their excitement is likely shared by family and friends. But unless someone in the family is famous, it’s unlikely the birth will make headline news.
It was different for actress Grace Kelly. When the Hollywood star married Prince Rainier III of Monaco in 1956, that got the attention of the press around the world. The birth of baby Caroline, nine months and four days later, was proclaimed, rather extravagantly, as “the most famous birth in history.”
But let’s go back a little further. Princess Elizabeth married Prince Philip in 1947. Their first child, Charles, was born a year later. Then, in 1952, with the death of her father, King George VI, Elizabeth became queen, and her son became the heir apparent to the throne–a position he has now held for over sixty years, the longest serving heir apparent in British history.
But a birth truly worthy of being called “the most famous birth in history” happened long before these–to a baby born, not to a movie star or earthly princess, but to a peasant girl in Nazareth. An angel appeared to a virgin named Mary, announcing that she, by a supernatural work of the Holy Spirit, would give birth to the incarnate Son of God. Even His earthly name, “Jesus,” was divinely ordained, and His work as “a Saviour who is Christ the Lord” (Lk. 1:30-38; 2:1-7, 11).
His coming was prophesied through the Old Testament. There was even a hint of what He would do right after Adam and Eve fell into sin. “I will put enmity between you [Satan] and the woman, and between your seed and her Seed; He shall bruise your head, and you shall bruise His heel” (Gen. 3:15). This is how Isaiah spoke of Christ’s sacrifice to pay our debt:
“All we like sheep have gone astray; we have turned, every one, to his own way; and the Lord has laid on Him the iniquity of us all” (Isa. 53:6).
But there’s more coming, the glorious reign of the Messiah-King of Israel. “O foolish ones, and slow of heart to believe in all that the prophets have spoken! Ought not the Christ to have suffered these things and to enter into His glory?” (Lk. 24:25-26). Isaiah viewing the future with a prophet’s eye, says:
“Unto us a Child is born [in Bethlehem, Lk. 2:7], unto us a Son is given [from the Father in heaven, Jn. 3:16]. [Then, as the Old Testament prophets sometimes do, Isaiah skips over the time between Christ’s two advents to His coming reign.] And the government will be upon His shoulder. And His name will be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace. Of the increase of His government and peace there will be no end, upon the throne of David and over His kingdom, to order it and establish it with judgment and justice from that time forward, even forever” (Isa. 9:6-7).
In that future day, the One who came to earth humbly as a Baby laid in a manger, will return in glory, exalted by God the Father, and adored by saints and angels. Though some Bible versions place a comma after “Wonderful” in Isaiah, it’s probable there are four double titles in the verse.
He will be revealed as a Wonderful (Supernatural) Counselor and Mighty God. The title “Everlasting Father” likely means He’s the Father of Eternity, or, in practical terms, the Source of Eternal Life. Prince of Peace identifies Him as the One who’ll finally bring lasting peace on earth.
Christmas fell on a Sunday in 1955, and that seemed to bring a special excitement in the small church attended by gospel musician Audrey Mae Mieir. After the familiar manger scene was reenacted, and a choir sang, Pastor Luther Mieir, Audrey’s brother-in-law, raised his hands heavenward, and proclaimed, as Isaiah did long ago, “His name is Wonderful!”
That Scripture made a deep impression on the musician. She took her Bible, and wrote in it the words of a little chorus. Later, she lengthened it, by researching other names and titles of the Lord Jesus found in Scripture. It has since become maybe the most famous worship chorus in the English language. Audrey heard it sung in many different languages, all over the world.
His name is Wonderful, His name is Wonderful,
His name is Wonderful, Jesus my Lord.
He is the mighty King, Master of everything,
His name is Wonderful, Jesus, my Lord.
He’s the great Shepherd,
The Rock of all ages,
Almighty God is He.
Bow down before Him, love and adore Him,
His name is Wonderful! Jesus my Lord.
1) What other names and titles for Christ can you think of that are not included in the chorus?
2) Why do you think it is that Christ is given so many different names and titles in God’s Word?