Monday, January 8, 2018
"Guide us to thy perfect light."
Carol: “We Three Kings” – Words & Music by John Henry Hopkins (1820-1891)
Tune: KINGS OF ORIENT
My mother (Hedy) was the resident director of the annual Christmas Play at First Baptist Church in Pigeon Forge. If any of you wonder where I got my proclivity toward dramatizing biblical events, you need go no further. Each year’s production was pretty much like the previous. I remember how while the choir sang “It Came upon the Midnight Clear,” the angels always interpreted the text with hand movements -- one of which was forming a circle with their arms at “comes round the age of gold,” and leaning forward during “when peace shall over all the earth…” Why do things like that stick in your mind?
Each year she had to employ three men from within the choir to sing “We Three Kings.” They all sang the first and last stanzas, and each did a solo verse based on the gift they carried: gold, frankincense or myrrh. Ours weren’t quite as much fun as the one below featuring Hugh Jackman, but the point was pretty well dramatized, especially for a 1950’s low-budget production.
Even as a child, watching and listening to my mother direct this cast of her peers, I was drawn to THIS hymnline spoken by the bath-robed wise men to the star of wonder, star of night with royal beauty bright: “Guide us to thy perfect Light.” Early on I was learning by osmosis that the Christ Child was the perfect Light of the World.
It is strange how we bring those carol texts with us from our earliest years to our latter days as saints. I’m glad we do, because those tidbits we have learned from our singing/listening-to-singing have enriched our lives, deepened our faith, brought us to belief and service. In other words, they have guided us to the perfect Light.
Let’s keep teaching them to our children’s children.
See Hugh Jackman, David Hobson and Peter Cousen sing fun setting of this carol
Hear Robert Shaw Chorale sing this carol