New (and adapted) lyrics for Advent and Christmas hymns

by Ken Sehested

Joy to the World

Joy to the world! Salvation comes. Let earth rise up in praise
Let every heart prepare Christ’s Way
And heaven and nature sing, and heaven and nature sing,
And heaven, and heaven and nature sing.

Joy to the earth! The Savior reigns. Let every voice report
While fields and floods, rocks, hills, and plains
Repeat the sounding joy, repeat the sounding joy,
Repeat, repeat, the sounding joy.

No more let sins and sorrows grow, nor thorns infest the ground
Christ comes to make all blessings flow
Far as the curse is found, far as the curse is found
Far as, far as the curse is found.

Christ rules the world with truth and grace, and makes the nations prove
The glories of God’s righteousness
And merciful embrace, and merciful embrace
The world, the world shall live in Mercy’s embrace.

“Be not afraid,” the angels sing To shepherds’ startled gaze
“Good news come down, great joy for all”
Make haste to see the child! Make haste to see the child
Make haste, make haste to see the child.

Now let us go to Bethlehem, to see in manger laid
The One whose coming restores the promise
Of just and joyful Reign! Of just and joyful Reign!
Of joy and justice of God’s own Reign.

©Ken Sehested @

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Let All Mortal Flesh Keep Silent

Favor and affection contending
’Til the work of wrath confess
Steadfast love and faith embracing
Righteousness and peace caress
Magi wend their way to advent star aligned
Dwelling place of God earth-consigned

Wolf and lamb now linger, contented
Calf and lion peaceful arrayed
Cow and bear graze restful and fearless
Little child now marshaling parade
Roots from severed tree erupt, oh meek proclaim
Holy Mountain’s knowledge and Name

©Ken Sehested @

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O Come, O Come, Emmanuel

O Come, thou fount of Mercy, come
And light the path of journey home
From Pharaoh’s chains grant liberty
From Herod’s rage, confirm thy guarantee
Rejoice! Rejoice! Emmanuel
Shall come to thee, O Israel!

O Come, thou Watchful Keeper, bestow
Glad heart, warm home to creatures below
Give cloud by day and fire by night
Guide feet in peace with heaven’s delight
Rejoice! Rejoice! Emmanuel
Shall come to thee, O Israel!

Secure the lamb, the wolf no longer preys
Secure the child, no fear displays
The vow of vengeance bound evermore
God’s holy mountain safe and adored
Rejoice! Rejoice! Emmanuel
Shall come to thee, O Israel!

Arise, you fear-confounded, attest
With Insurrection’s voice confess
Though death’s confine and terror’s darkest threat
Now govern earth’s refrain . . . and yet
Rejoice! Rejoice! Emmanuel
Shall come to thee, O Israel!

O spring, from Jesse’s root, the ransom flower
From Mary’s womb, annunciating power
Bend low you hills, arise you prostrate plain
All flesh shall see, all lips join in refrain:
Rejoice! Rejoice! Emmanuel
Shall come to thee, O Israel!

O Come, announce the Blessed Manger’s reach
All Herod-hearted, murd’rous plans impeach
Abolish every proud and cruel throne
Fill hungry hearts, guide every exile home.
Rejoice! Rejoice! Emmanuel
Shall come to thee, O Israel!

©Ken Sehested @

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O Little Town of Bethlehem

O wounded town of Bethlehem
How sad we see thee cry
Above thy curfewed, empty streets
The belching tanks roll by

Yet from deep memory springeth
The hope of all the years
God’s kingdom come
God’s will be done
On earth, relieved of tears

April 2002, written on the campus of Bethlehem University, Occupied West Bank, where our 2002 Christian Peacemaker Teams delegation took refuge (after being stopped by Israeli soldiers) while attempting to walk into Bethlehem during a curfew (Israel’s “Operation Defensive Shield” invasion of the Occupied West Bank).
©Ken Sehested @

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Silent Night

Silent night, holy night,
threats appear, crouched in fright
Yet Salvation’s hand draws nigh,
sung by angel’s voice on high
Stars erupt at thy voice!
Stars erupt at thy voice.

Silent night, holy night,
joy unbound, such delight
Now creation’s hope reveal,
shattered hearts, restore and heal
Mercy’s reign endure,
Mercy’s reign endure!

©Ken Sehested @

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We Three Kings

We three kings of Orient are bearing gifts we traverse afar
Field and fountain, moor and mountain, following yonder star

O star of wonder, star of light, star with royal beauty bright
Westward leading, still proceeding, guide us to thy perfect light

Royal-born on Bethlehem’s plain, gold I bring to crown him again
Rule forever, ceasing never, over us all to reign

Frankincense to offer have I; incense rising, prayers on high
Joyful praising, voices raising, worshiping God come nigh

Myrrh is mine; its bitter perfume breathes a life of gathering gloom
Sorrowing, sighing, bleeding, dying, sealed in the stone-cold tomb

Glorious now behold him arise; from death’s grip and sacrifice
Alleluia, Alleluia, sounds through the earth and skies

Words and music: John H. Hopkins; adaptations (vv. 2-3, 5) by Ken Sehested
©Ken Sehested @

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Another Year Is Dawning

Another year is dawning, dear Abba let it be
In working or in waiting, another year with Thee
Another year of hopefulness, another year of praise
Another year of trusting Thy presence all the days.

Another year of mercies, of faithfulness and grace
Another year of longing: Thy Reign come now with haste
Another year of nursing upon Thy loving breast
Another year of trusting, of confidence confessed.

Another year of struggling, our eyes kept on the prize
For listening ‘mid the rumble of war-torn want and cries
¿Es una buena lucha? We ask ourselves again
The struggle’s good! We answer, amen and amen!

©Ken Sehested @

©Ken Sehested @