Light in Darkness

Light In Darkness

5th October 2009
Photo: Middleton Hall, Tamworth

What is it?

Light in darkness is a Christmas carol, which can be sung either as a unison melody or in 4-part (SATB) harmony. The music has a kind of neo-traditional feel to it. The lyrics are my own.


Christ the living word is born; and
Yet so frail is he,
Bringer of salvation
To his own creation.
He is one with God the Father
For eternity;
Yet this child of promise,
Cradled In his mother's arms,
Now shines light in darkness.
Born among us, God made man:
Blessed Jesus, live within us,
Reign in glory.

Dreaming of a day when every
Tongue will call him Lord;
Tongues that once denied him,
Hands that crucified him.
He, who is the way, the truth, the life,
By heaven adored,
Sleeps in peace while angels
Praise him, bringing joy to all
Who crave light in darkness.
Born among us, God made man:
Blessed Jesus, live within us,
Reign in glory.

Hear the angels sing, proclaiming
Peace throughout the earth;
Join the hymn of blessing,
Christ the Lord confessing:
Let the praises ring in honour of
The Saviour's birth,
Let the words of gladness
Tell the world a King is born
Who brings light in darkness.
Born among us, God made man:
Blessed Jesus, live within us,
Reign in glory. Amen.


The first two verses of this song imagine Jesus Christ as a baby, asleep and dreaming of his future. So in compiling this video I overlaid up to four video sequences at a time, usually with between 40% and 60% transparency. This creates a shifting dreamscape of images that matches well the atmosphere of the words. The third verse is more about how we receive the message of Christmas and for this I used video sequences from cities in which I had projects at one time or another or otherwise visited: Cape Town (South Africa), Santiago (Chile), Sydney (Australia) and Prague (Czech Republic).


St Thomas

St Thomas's Church, Trowbridge, where
'Light in Darkness' was first sung.

New Christmas songs, both sacred and secular, are being written every year. Some are really good: but if you take the words away from the majority of them, the music in isolation rarely sounds particularly seasonal. That's not a criticism, more of an observation - and two of my friends in particular have come up with very good Christmas songs in their time.

In October 2009 I found myself wondering if it would be possible to compose a Christmas carol that was new in every sense and yet able to convey the sense of Christmas even without words. So I set myself the challenge of doing exactly that. I came up with my own lyrics in parallel with writing the music: in my experience that's always the best way to do it.

The result is distinctly new and yet somehow reassuringly traditional. It's very much in my own style and yet has that indefinable something that makes one think of open fires, chestnuts roasting, roast turkey and other such things! We sang it at our church's Christmas carol service that December. The singers enjoyed it and one of our church leaders expressed his appreciation of the lyrics.


Candles at Middleton Hall

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