Posted by: rcottrill | December 25, 2017

Unto Us a Boy Is Born

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Words: author unknown; translated by Percy Dearmer (b. Feb. 27, 1867; d. May 29, 1936)
Music: Lasst Uns Alle (Let Us All) Gesangbuch (Hymnal), Ander Teil (Dresden, Germany: 1632)

Wordwise Hymns (Percy Dearmer)
The Cyber Hymnal

Note: Dearmer was an English clergyman who also edited books of hymns and wrote some songs himself. He became the canon of Westminster Abbey.

“The Alpha and the Omega” (in the first line of the last stanza) are the first and last letters of the Greek alphabet. The title is used four times of the Lord, in the book of Revelation. It indicates that all things begin and end with Him (Rev. 22:12-13; cf. Rom. 11:36.)–rather like us saying, in English, He is the A to Z. For some strange reason, Dearmer rendered the title “Omega and Alpha.” This is neither accurate to Scripture, logical, or musically suited to the tune. I have corrected it below.

Christmas morning can be an exciting time. When I was a small boy, Grandma Cottrill would come to stay with us over Christmas and, in the morning, we all gathered around the tree, under which some brightly wrapped presents had mysteriously appeared overnight.

And if your tradition was like ours, there were also stocking hanging there, bulging strangely. They usually came first, and yielded a number of fascinating things, some of them good to eat. But what about the hidden mysteries under the tree? Was that special something we were hoping for really there?

I suppose I was like a lot of little boys, struggling to be grateful for things I needed, while almost bursting with excited anticipation for what I dearly wanted. Socks and underwear may have been practical, but they could hardly compare, in my mind, with a gleaming toy!

There’s another struggle we have–perhaps even as adults. It’s experiencing the truth of the words of the Lord Jesus, “It is more blessed to give than to receive” (Acts 20:35). For some, that seems to come more easily than for others. But Christmas is about giving, not getting. And learning the joy of giving is a wonderful experience.

Sometimes, it’s even more exciting to give anonymously, and not have a name tag attached to what’s given, identifying us. And what if we had to make some sacrifice in order to share that gift. A sacrifice that we perhaps couldn’t–or wouldn’t–tell others about. Just to know we’ve been a blessing or a help to someone else can be very satisfying.

The fantasies and fun of the season have their place. But the true Christmas story is about the most glorious Gift ever given. It’s just what we needed. And, when we’re enlightened regarding the nature of the Gift, we see it is just what we wanted all along. Isaiah predicted the arrival of the Gift, saying, “Behold, the virgin shall conceive and bear a Son, and shall call His name Immanuel [meaning God with us]” (Isa. 7:14). And Immanuel was given an earthly name, “Jesus”, even before He was born (Matt. 1:21; Lk. 1:31).

Notice the words I’ve italicized in what follows. They show plainly who the Gift is for. It was intended for you and for me.

“He [Jesus] indeed was foreordained before the foundation of the world, but was manifest [revealed] in these last times for you” (I Pet. 1:20). “When the fullness of the time had come, God sent forth His Son, born of a woman” (Gal. 4:4). “Unto us a Child is born, unto us a Son is given” (Isa. 9:6). “There is born to you this day…a Saviour, who is Christ, the Lord” (Lk. 2).

And of His cross, Jesus said:

“My body…[is] broken for you” (Cor. 11:24). “For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord” (Rom. 6:23). “For you know the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, that though He was rich, yet for your sakes He became poor, that you through His poverty might become rich” (II Cor. 8:9). “Thanks be to God for His indescribable gift!” (II Cor. 9:15).

Which brings us to simple a carol about six centuries old. It was written in German, and translated in the early twentieth century by Percy Dearmer.

CH-1) Unto us a Boy is born,
King of all creation:
Came He to world forlorn,
Lord of every nation.

CH-2) Cradled in a stall was He
’Midst the cows and asses;
But the very beasts could see
He all men surpasses.

CH-4) Now may Mary’s Son, who came
Long ago to love us,
Lead us all with hearts aflame
To the joys above us.

CH-5) Alpha and Omega He!
Let the organ thunder,
While the choir with peals of glee
Rends the air asunder.

1) What is the most wonderful gift you ever received (other than salvation through Christ)?

2) What is the most blessed and delightful giving experience you ever had?

Wordwise Hymns (Percy Dearmer)
The Cyber Hymnal


  1. I hope you had a blessed Christmas Robert!!!


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