Ever start to learn a song and find out that you can't get through it without getting emotionally overwhelmed? I'm in that situation this year. The lyrics below are from Carol of Joy by Eileen Berry. Dan Forrest, Jr. published an arrangement via Beckenhorst Press. Our chorale (consisting of about 8 to 10 choir members) learned this for our 2007 Christmas program.
You may listen to a demo of this arrangement at http://www.beckenhorstpress.com/audio/1791.mp3
Carol Of Joy
by Eileen Berry
Green leaves all fallen, withered and dry;
Brief sunset fading, dim winter sky.
Dark closing in...
Then, through the stillness, carols begin!
Oh fallen world, to you is the song--
Death holds you fast and night tarries long.
Jesus is born, your curse to destroy!
Sweet to your ears, a carol of Joy!
Pale moon ascending, solemn and slow;
Cold barren hillside, shrouded in snow;
Deep, empty valley veiled by the night;
Hear angel music--hopeful and bright!
Oh fearful world, to you is the song--
Peace with your God, and pardon for wrong!
Tidings for sinners, burdened and bound--
A carol of joy!
A Saviour is found!
Earth wrapped in sorrow, lift up your eyes!
Thrill to the chorus filling the skies!
Look up sad hearted--witness God's love!
Join in the carol swelling above!
Oh friendless world, to you is the song!
All Heaven's joy to you may belong!
You who are lonely, laden, forlorn--
Oh fallen world!
Oh friendless world!
A Saviour is born!
"To You Is the Song!"
During the first several rehearsals of Carol of Joy, I was so intent on trying to get notes, I nearly missed the message. Our choir director informed us we would be performing the entire piece from memory--a first for me in a Christmas program of this size. He urged us to "get out of the music" and look up whenever possible.
As I got "out of the music" and "into the song," the message gradually changed direction. While studying the music at home, I read the words aloud several times; then, I spoke them, dramatized them, as if I were one of the multitude of angels appearing to the shepherds.
At one night's rehearsal, the chorale sang Carol of Joy for the rest of the choir--our first "public" off-book performance. As a rather conservative Baptist, I'm not often given over to emotionalism, for fear that it might be... well, just emotion... but when we sang, I was moved. If the sheet music were in my hands, I would not have been able to read it because of the tears welling in my eyes.
It wasn't because I was getting into the song, but rather it had finally gotten into me.
One simple phrase is repeated throughout... "to you is the song!"
"This wasn't just for "the world back then" on a hillside near Bethlehem," I thought.
"It's for the fallen, the fearful, and the friendless right now."
The impact of Carol of Joy doesn't come merely from recounting an event in the past, but conveying a message for today. How could I be afraid to share this wonderful message?
"... to you is the song!"
Let us never forget that the joy our Saviour brings is for the fallen, fearful, friendless world around us today! Share it boldly!