Wednesday, December 01, 2010

Cliff Richard’s ‘Little Town’ for Christmas No1

Ah, the gloriously authentic days before they started to mime. This would probably now be banned by the BBC lest it offend minority faiths.

Unless the hair offends first.

You have to hand it to Sir Cliff, he does cracking Christmas songs, invariably with a genuinely Christian incarnational theme, and ‘Little Town’ is the best:

How silently, how silently,
The wondrous gift is given!
So God imparts to human hearts
The blessings of His Heaven.
No ear may hear His coming;
But in this world of sin,
Where meek souls will receive Him still
The dear Christ enters in.
It would be great to get these glorious lyrics filling the airwaves this Christmas after the dross of the expletive-ridden effort which made it to No1 last year.

The Facebook campaign to get this version of the carol into the charts is progressing steadily, though there is quite a way to go before it reaches the stratospheric heights of X-Factor’s anointed. There are presently enough supporters to ensure that the song enters the Top 40, and this would be the first time it has charted since 1982 when it was first released.

Sir Cliff is generously donating all of his download royalties on this song to Alzheimer’s Research, and His Grace has opened a JustGiving page for direct donations. Sir Cliff’s mother passed away in 2007 after living with dementia for more than 10 years. Asked if the way dementia is portrayed has changed in recent years, Sir Cliff replied:

"I'd like to think it has but there's still a long way to go. Money is always going to be the answer for things like this, to research the causes and hopefully find a cure. But I think the fact that people are talking about dementia much more freely is a great start.

"My family and I have been through dementia with my mother and before that we never realised what it all meant. It was a real eye opener for us and a big lesson for us all. And now I find myself able to talk about it quite openly and say that my mum had suffered, yes - I think we're on the way to improving things."
Out of sensitivity to the conscience issues of many, Alzheimer’s Research have agreed that no monies raised through this campaign will fund embryo research.

And every £1 helps.

So whether or not you support the campaign and whether you love Sir Cliff or loathe him, the charity cause is most worthy: there is no Christmas loneliness quite like the interminable loneliness of a family living with a loved one who can no longer remember names, faces, happy memories: you mourn them for years before they pass away.

In this season of Advent, His Grace would like to thank all of his readers and communicants for making November another record-breaking year for this blog.

His Grace has seen 91,592 visits with 98,362 unique views making 113,854 page-views (Google Analytics).

Most of the traffic comes direct through search engines, but His Grace would like to thank those who have linked to him over the past month, in particular:

Iain Dale’s Diary 6,606
EUReferendum 2,014
ConservativeHome 1,460
Anglican Mainstream 1,379
Guido Fawkes 1,212

By far, His Grace’s most popular page in November was that concerning Bishop Pete Broadbent, with 4,021 views.

As we look forward to celebrating the coming of the Christ Child, His Grace wishes all of his readers and communicants a blessed Advent season.


Anonymous round zebra rug said...

very interesting read.. thanks for your insight on the subject..

1 December 2010 at 12:23  
Blogger John M Ward said...

I have been supporting this cause ever since it was launched as a target, and for the reasons stated. It's featured at the top of my 'blog's left sidebar.

I don't really like the musical interpretation all that much, but the original words still convey as strong a message as ever.

1 December 2010 at 12:40  
Anonymous EDL Theology Department said...

This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

1 December 2010 at 13:02  
Anonymous EDL Theology Department said...

This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

1 December 2010 at 13:16  
Blogger Archbishop Cranmer said...

...the season of goodwill to all mankind...

PLease do not post gratuitously offensive messages.

1 December 2010 at 13:21  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Thank you, Your Grace, and congratulations on the record-breaking traffic. But why, pray, no link from the Spectator site?

1 December 2010 at 14:25  
Blogger Sophie said...

While on the topic of carols, could you very kindly explain to me the words of While Shepherds Watched their Flocks by Night"

They go as follows:

"To you, in David's town, this day, Is born of David's line"

And this lineage business turns up elsewhere.

But of course, Jesus was Mary's baby but he wasn't Joseph's. So He wasn't of David's line, not in the way I understand it.

I have to admit I'd never noticed this discrepancy. My stepdaughter pointed it out. She wanted an explanation and I felt a bit silly not having an answer for her.

Bet you can give me an answer I can pass on.


Sophie, Surrey

1 December 2010 at 17:02  
Blogger Gnostic said...

Advent type felicitations to you also, Your Grace. But I still won't be putting my hand into my pocket to boost Cliff's shot at achieving the Christmas number 1.

1 December 2010 at 17:37  
Blogger English Viking said...


Luke 3 gives Christ's lineage - through the House of David - in relation to Mary whilst Matthew 1 does the same in relation to Joseph.

They were both of the House of David.

1 December 2010 at 19:32  
Blogger Sophie said...

Will pass this on, though I have to say I'm not convinced.

There's a screeds about Jesus's paternal descent in the Bible, whereas hardly anything is said about Mary's lineage, despite the fact that our understanding is that she is the only human being to whom Jesus was related.

Is there any evidence in the Bible to show that Mary is descended from David? It definitely reads as if Jesus was Joseph's son and that it was through him he claimed descent from David.

The more I look into it, the more it bothers me. There turn out to be other people looking into this - and their Biblical references suggest Mary, as cousin of John the Baptist's mother, was of the house of Aaron.

Anyway, thanks for replying. I shall persevere.

1 December 2010 at 19:58  
Anonymous Petronius said...

I would like to attempt to reverently answer Sophie of Surrey’s very good question, using the Bible.

I think your granddaughter, Sophie, is a very clever young lady indeed! She has spotted something of enormous importance about Jesus.

Luke Ch.3 vs. 23-38 describes the natural genealogy of Jesus, starting from the ‘present’ (Joseph), back through David, and going right back to the first man, Adam. Notice how v.38 ends: “the son of Adam… the son of God”. The verse chooses to underline the fact that Adam was the first of our race, born of God’s initial act of creation. Also note that the word “son” starts with a lower-case “s”. The implication is that “son of God” is not Adam’s Title as such, but that the phrase is simply used in the sense that “God made him”.

Now, skipping back a few pages to Luke Ch.1 vs. 26-35, we are told that Mary conceived the child Jesus not in the usual way, but by the power of the Holy Spirit. Note how v.35 ends: “So the holy one to be born will be called… the Son of God”. The same phrase again. This time, however, the word “Son” is capitalised. He is not only a “son of God” in the sense that Adam was, but He is THE Son of God.

So, with the birth of Christ, we have a new act of human creation by God, but this time, it is not like the creation of Adam. Christ the Son is divine, at one with the Father. (“Before Abraham ever existed, I am”, he declared, in the Gospel of John). And Paul, in his letter to the Romans (I think it is in that letter) refers to Christ as both “the last Adam” and “the Second Man”, which sounds the same as saying “Mankind version two”. And so we come to the question, “What about us? This “new man” business sounds all very well and good for Jesus himself, but Jesus didn’t have any natural children himself, so where is this “new mankind”? How do I get to become part of this?

The answer is that we (ie, all who believe in Jesus) share in his new life, and become transformed into His likeness, by God’s own will. In John Ch.17 vs. 20-26, Jesus prays that we may all be united In Him, sharing His new life. Paul the apostle confirms that this supernatural transformation takes place for all Christians: “Of God, you are In Christ”. How beautiful those words are: “IN Christ”. We are not merely trying our best to imitate Him; we are actually In Him, and He is in us, just as he prayed for us. It is a divine act.
Furthermore, although Christ’s death and resurrection happened to Him, we also are included there, in God’s eyes. Romans Ch.6: “Don’t you know that all of us who were baptized into Christ Jesus were baptized [immersed, included] in his death? We were therefore buried with him through baptism into death, in order that, just as Christ was raised from the dead through the glory of the Father, we too may live a new life”.

So basically, when one believes in Christ, God the Father unites your whole life with Christ’s life. God says to Himself “By my will, you are included in my Son. He is the vine, and you are now a branch in that vine. You are no longer chained to the older creation of Adam and his sinful life. Christ died, and took the whole sinful nature of Adam onto Himself and crucified it, and then rose from the dead, in newness of life. As you are in Christ, all this now applies to you also”.

I realise that this reply to your question is probably a bit too “adult” and “serious” for your granddaughter, Sophie, but I’m sure you can put it into words that she can understand! God bless you and have a Happy Christmas.

1 December 2010 at 20:53  
Blogger Manfarang said...

The son of man.

2 December 2010 at 02:22  

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