Before you get to the tunes in the Sacred Harp, there is a chapter on “Rudiments of Music.” One of the illustrative pieces there is THE YOUNG CONVERT from 1805′s Christian Harmony. I’ve always liked that little tune, and with its repeated refrain “Wonder, wonder, wonder,” thought it would be perfect for a Christmas piece. After working on it on and off for eleven years, I finally finished a preliminary five-verse text. I can’t say I’m happy with the words, really. But after a decade-plus, it’s time to put it to use. Here’s a pdf:
If you have a better text, I’d be happy to revise and share credits. Meanwhile, if you’re looking for a liturgical stocking stuffer, feel free to use the piece, and copy as many as you need.
Update: I think John Ellerton’s translation of the Christmas Lauds hymn is a pretty neat fit:
From east to west, from shore to shore,
let every heart awake and sing
the holy child whom Mary bore,
the Christ, the everlasting King.
Behold, the world’s Creator wears
the form and fashion of a slave;
our human flesh the Godhead shares,
a human race God comes to save.
He shrank not from the oxen’s stall,
he lay within the manger-bed,
for he who feeds and cares for all,
at Mary’s breast himself was fed.
And while the angels in the sky
sang praise above the silent field,
to shepherds poor the Lord Most High,
the one great Shepherd, was revealed.
All glory be to God above
and on the earth let there be peace
to all who long to taste God’s love,
till time itself shall come to cease.
The Hymnal of the Hours recommends verses 1-2, and 5-7 for Christmas. Unfortunately, I’ve lost one of my best singers to Christmas Day, so it doesn’t look like I’ll get to test this out this year.
But if you want to test it, here it is: https://dl.dropbox.com/u/4281211/From%20East%20to%20West%20Wonder%20Wonder%20Wonder.pdf