I am really excited to tell you about my latest worship single release (released on 16th December 2019) called ‘Long Ago in Bethlehem’.
Not only is it a worship song, it is also a song about the Christmas season – a celebration of when God became Man in order to save us all.
A few years ago I intentionally set out to write a Christmas worship song and was seeking inspiration. I have a few old hymn books so I thought I would flick through them to see what had worked for others who had gone before me. As I was flicking through the pages ‘Hark The Herald Angels’ caught my attention. The concepts and lyrics were so beautiful and poignant – the final verse in particular captured my imagination.
I also noticed that quite a common theme was the re-telling of the Christmas story in various ways – so I went with this idea, including the great mystery of our faith that Jesus is both ‘fully God and fully man’ – it’s always good when one can include theology in a worship song!
So I wrote the song using Hark the Herald as my initial springboard / inspiration. I got a bit stuck on the third verse as I couldn’t think of any better way to express what had already been written by Charles Wesley in his final verse of the Carol, so I decided as it was out of copyright I would use it as my third verse. I have added a couple of tiny tweaks to help it fit and flow with the rest of the song, but I like how those words help to give the song a sense of connection with the past.
Christmas provides such a rich collection of ideas as God’s plan for the salvation of the world begins to literally ‘become flesh’ and is realised in ways so different than what we would naturally imagine. It is also a time when we look forward to the culmination of Jesus’ saving work – his death and resurrection and also his coming back again.