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Henry Vaughan: Christ's Nativity

My sister Ellen sends me wonderful stuff from all over the place…

From the pen of Henry Vaughan (1621-95). Hope you can work through this classical piece and “awake” to the glory of our God and Savior!

Christ’s Nativity

AWAKE, glad heart! Get up, and sing!
It is the birthday of thy King.
Awake! Awake!
The sun doth shake
Light from his locks, and all the way
Breathing perfumes, doth spice the day.

Awake, awake! hark how th’ wood rings
Winds whisper, and the busy springs
A consort make;
Awake! awake!
Man is their high-priest, and should rise
To offer up the sacrifice.

I would I were some bird, or star,
Flutt’ring in woods, or lifted far
Above this inn
And road of sin!
Then either star, or bird, should be
Shining, or singing still, to Thee.

I would I had in my best part
Fit rooms for Thee! or that my heart
Were so clean as
Thy manger was!
But I am all filth, and obscene;
Yet if Thou wilt, Thou canst make clean.

Sweet Jesu! will then; let no more
This leper haunt, and soil thy door!
Cure him, ease him,
or release him!
And let once more, by mystic birth,
The Lord of life be borne in Earth.

II.

How kind is Heav’n to man! If here
One sinner doth amend,
Straight there is joy, and ev’ry sphere
In music doth contend;
And shall we then no voices lift?
Are mercy, and salvation
Not worth our thanks? Is life a gift
Of no more acceptation?
Shall He that did come down from thence,
And here for us was slain,
Shall He be now cast off? no sense
Of all His woes remain?

Can neither love, nor suff’rings bind?
Are we all stone, and earth?
Neither His bloody passions mind,
Nor one day bless His birth?
Alas, my God! Thy birth now here
Must not be number’d in the year.

– Henry Vaughan

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