Jesus so tenderly calls me to Him, He calls each one!
Strength to be faithful comes from Jesus’ dear love alone.
As the warm sunshine feeds tall lilies, the violet blooms,
So my heart’s love will give its sweetness when Christ’s love comes.
In the round world on ev’ry Altar our Jesus stands,
Stretching to us, the little children, His eager hands.
Where the lamp glows before the Chalice with light and heat
There will I run to throw myself at dear Jesus’ feet.
When I have gone to Jesus, Jesus Himself will come,
Bethlehem‘s star will follow, follow us to our home.
If my heart’s joy is with the Saviour by day and by night
Jesus will live with me forever, my food, my light.
I have to say I don’t find this to be a tremendous improvement over Young People’s Glory and Praise. The reform2 folks are falling over themselves to analyze the arrangement, which is typical of many music folk. Not worth it. A liturgist will look at the text and the melody and that’s probably the end of it in this case.
I’m not really in favor of a separate repertoire for things like school Masses, much less a First Communion. A piece like this would probably not make it to first base on my ball field. But if it did, I’d have a problem with the Scripture allusions: very superficial. Carey Landry does a better job weaving Scripture into his children’s music. Psalm 23. Psalm 34. Psalm 103. These are all better choices for texts for children’s music.
The yoking of Spring and Christmas is a bit cool, but the sentimentality of the song is the real hurdle. Kids might sing it, but the real appeal is the parents’ heartstrings. Frankly, I’m amazed this piece is so well regarded at NLM. This would hardly be considered a treasure of sacred music. It died out because the next music director had another sentimental favorite to insert for First Communion. End of story.
The tune, attributed as a Spanish carol, is probably a folk song. The melody is serviceable and translates better to guitar and an authentic folk style than the given arrangement–which rather reminds me of Dan Schutte. I’d lower the key to E major and give it a nice Spanish style. After I paraphrased a psalm to fit the melody.