This is the 23rd entry in the Advent-Hymn-of-the-Day project.
Today's hymn reminds us that there is MUCH more to Christmas than happiness and celebration. It reminds us, in the most serious of terms, of the indifferent state of the world, the thoughtless hurt and sinning that happens daily, and, like all things good or bad - the consequences, be they happy or hopeless.
The words are by J. Anstice (1808-1836), whose own life was tragically short. The music comes from Anchor's "A Choice Collection", c. 1721.
I played this hymn solely on the sad and sweet principals of the Tholen Van Dam with first 8' and then 8' & 4'. The sound is heard almost from the rear of the church. Their sad and mournful sound reinforces the serious nature of the tune and of the words, offering both consolation and a warning...
The name of the tune is "Walsall".
When came in flesh the incarnate Word,
The heedless world slept on,
And only simple shepherds heard
That God had sent His Son.
When comes the Saviour at the last,
From east to west shall shine
The awful pomp, and earth aghast
Shall tremble at the sign.
Lord, who could dare see Thee descend
In state, unless he knew
Thou art the sorrowing sinner's friend,
The gracious and the true.
Dwell in our heart, O Saviour blest;
So shall Thine advent's dawn
'Twixt us and Thee, our bosom-guest,
Be but the veil withdrawn.