Tuesday, 25 December 2018

Yuletide Greetings

A Merry Christmas
To All Readers and Followers of 'The Land of Lost Content'

Many years ago, in the National Galleries of Scotland, Edinburgh, I discovered a Nativity scene by the Scottish artist William Bell Scott (1811-90). This had been painted around 1872.  The artist had used the landscape of south Ayrshire as his inspiration. This Nativity was set in a dilapidated barn near Penkill Castle. In the background can be seen the rural lowland Scottish landscape: one of the approaching shepherds is playing the bagpipes. It was this painting that made me realise that the Nativity is universal. European Renaissance painters had set it in their local landscapes, both rural and urban. So why not Ayrshire, or anywhere? 

Light in the Darkness
Norval Clyne (1817-1888)
The blasts of chill December sound
    The farewell of the year,
And night's swift shadows gath'ring round
    O'er cloud the soul with fear;
But rest you well, good Christian men,
    Nor be of heart forlorn;
December's darkness begins again
    The Light of Christmas morn.

The welcome snow at Christmas-tyde
    Falls shining from the skies:
On village paths and uplands wide
    All holy-white it lies;
It crowns with pearl the oaks and pines,
    And glitters on the thorn,
And purer is the Light that shines
    On gladsome Christmas morn.

'Twas when the world was waxing old,
    And night on Bethlehem lay,
The shepherds saw the heavens unfold
    A light beyond the day;
Such glory ne'er had visited
    A world with sin outworn;
But yet more glorious Light is shed
    On happy Christmas morn.

Those shepherds poor, how blest were they
    The angels' song to hear!
In manger cradle as He lay,
    To greet their Lord so dear!
The Lord of Heaven's eternal height
    For us a Child was born:
And He, the very Light of Light,
    Shone forth that Christmas morn!

Before His Infant smile afar
    Were driven the hosts of hell;
And still in souls that childlike are
    His guardian Love shall dwell:
O then rejoice, good Christian men,
    Nor be of hear forlorn;
December's darkness bring again
    The Light of Christmas morn.


kenpat said...

A merry Christmas to you and yours and best wishes for the New Year

coppinsuk said...

Many many thanks for your continued efforts in sharing your enjoyment and enthusiasm for "classical" music.

You have educated me immensely with your various missives.

Many thanks and seasonal greetings from deepest Shropshire - "The Land of Lost Contentment" (sic).


Douglas (UK)