Glory to God around the glory manger

Luke 2--14

The Verse of Day for December 23, 2016 comes from the concluding verses of the same passage containing the narrative of the birth of Jesus Christ found in the Gospel of Luke:

Luke 2:11-14 (AMP):

For this day in the city of David there has been born for you a Savior, who is Christ the Lord (the Messiah). And this will be a sign for you [by which you will recognize Him]: you will find a Baby wrapped in [swaddling] cloths and lying in a manger.” Then suddenly there appeared with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host (angelic army) praising God and saying, “Glory to God in the highest [heaven], And on earth peace among men with whom He is well-pleased.”

With its reference to the manger and multitude of the angelic host of heaven offering praise and glory to God, the passage brought to mind a Christmas spiritual often sung at this time of the year: “’Round de glory manger”

In previous blog entries I have listed this selection as one of my Top 10 Christmas Spirituals. “’Round de Glory Manger,” generally performed as a choral piece, has been offered as a solo by many singers, such as Harry Belafonte and Odetta. Kathleen Battle, renowned concert singer, included the spiritual in her Christmas Concert at Carnegie Hall, after having received arrangements for soloist by Jacqueline Hairston, cousin of late conductor, arranger, and composer, Jester Hairston. Here are lyrics to another favorite spiritual sung with joy during the Christmas season:

‘Round de Glory Manger:

They turned away Mary and a-Joseph
‘Way from the inn.
They turned away Mary and a-Joseph
‘Way from the inn.
They turned away Mary and a-Joseph
‘Way from the inn;
And that’s what made de Glory Manger!

Chorus:
An’ a Hallelujah, and a Hallelujah, Lord!
Wasn’t that a bright Bethlehem morning
‘Round de Glory Manger?

They laid my pretty little Jesus
Down in the straw.
They laid my pretty little Jesus
Down in the straw.
They laid my pretty little Jesus
Down in the straw;
And that’s what made de Glory Manger!

And all his pretty little fingers
Played in the straw.
All his pretty little fingers
Played in the straw.
And all his pretty little fingers
Played in the straw;
And that’s what made de Glory Manger!

They laid my sweet King Jesus
In de Glory Manger.
They laid the blessed son of Mary
In de Glory Manger.
They laid my precious Lord of Glory
In de Glory Manger;
And that’s what made de Glory–
That’s what made de Glory–
That’s what made de Glory Manger!

Listen as the Morehouse and Spelman Choirs offer a lively rendering of the Christmas classic arranged by Willis Laurence James:

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