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Thursday, December 10, 2015

Thomas Buchanan Read and Jules Bastian Lepage - the Annunciation of the Shepherds, The Messiah by George Fredrick Handel and Nativity by James Montgomery (Angels From the Realms of Glory)

 This week I'd like to feature a painting by an American artist, Thomas Buchanan Read of the Angel announcing the birth of Christ to the shepherds and one by Jules Bastien Lepage.  Their  perspective is quite different than last week's paintings as it is quite close and personal.  The angel is much closer to the shepherds rather than up in the clouds. Also there is just one angel in each of these paintings rather than a host of heavenly beings.  These two angels are both dressed in decidedly feminine apparel.  Thomas Buchanan Read's painting has the background image implying Bethlehem, like Thomas Cole's from last week, but Jules Bastien Lepage's painting is focuses on a close-up of the angel and shepherd's interaction.

Thomas Buchanan Read - The Angel Appearing Before the Shepherds

Jules Bastian Lepage - The Annunciation of the Shepherds
I know that Handel's Messiah is not strictly Christmas music, but the Messiah is what Christmas is all about and we often sing at least parts at Christmas so I'd like to feature it during this season.  It's lengthy, you may want to listen to parts each week or put it on as background music during the week.  For me, some parts are more familiar than others.  But all is beautiful and much of it is Scripture and all of it is about our matchless Lord Jesus Christ.  

Our poem this week is by James Montgomery.  As a hymn it is known as Angels From the Realms of Glory, but it was titled Nativity in my poetry book.


Angels, from the realms of glory,
   Wing your flight o'er all the earth,
Ye who sang creation's story,
   Now proclaim Messiah's birth;
     Come and worship,
Worship Christ the new-born King.

Shepherds, in the field abiding,
   Watching o'er  your flocks by night,
God with man is now residing,
   Yonder shines the infant-light;
      Come and worship,
Worship Christ the new-born King.

Sages, leave your contemplations,
   Brighter visions beam afar;
Seek the great Desire of nations;
   Ye have seen His natal star;
       Come and worship,
Worship Christ the new-born King.

Saints before the altar bending,
   Watching long in hope and fear,
Suddenly the Lord, descending;
   In His temple shall appear;
      Come and worship,
Worship Christ the new-born King.

Sinners, wrung with true repentance,
   Doom'd for guilt to endless pains,
Justice now revokes the sentence,
   Mercy calls you,--break your chains;
       Come and worship,
Worship Christ the new-born King.

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