Bishop John Shelby Spong ~ June 16, 1931 – September 12, 2021
Bishop Spong provided a much needed place for those of us who did not connect with traditional theology. We love you Bishop Spong. You will be missed! Funeral services will be held at St. Peter’s, Morristown, NJ and at St. Paul’s, Richmond, VA. Dates and times will be announced as soon as they are available

Here Before Us – A Christmas Song

Tune: In Dulci Jubilo

1. Our world cries out to be reborn:

a world of pain, all tossed and torn.

Babies born to mothers

scarce old enough to yet conceive,

like Jesus born to Mary,

so young, so fearful, so naive;

he was there before us,

Jesus born that way.


2. Our world cries out to be reborn:

where power abused is now the norm.

Leaders lead with violence

where life and innocence are slain,

as Herod murdered children

through fear of challenge in his reign;

Christ was there before us,

Jesus lived that day.


3. Our world of greed must free itself

from worship of material wealth.

Kings brought gifts to Jesus

and laid their treasure at his feet;

but he grew rich in spirit,

in poverty he was complete.

He was there before us,

there to show the Way.


4. Our world saw light on Christmas Day

when love drew breath amid the hay.

In the Bible pages

full of long-remembered tales,

through metaphor and story

the truth of Christmas still prevails:

Jesus is before us,

here to show the Way.

Jesus is before us,

he is here to stay!


Chris Avis Nov 2010


Notes and suggestions

The tempo should be a little slower than for ‘Good Christian men rejoice’, to suit the reflective nature of the words.

In some verses, lines 4 and/or 5 have an extra syllable compared to the usual length, requiring the original first note of affected lines to be sung as two crotchets instead of a single minim. This is a simple modification musically and should pose no problem.

The extra two lines at the end of verse 4 repeat the tune of the previous two lines, perhaps with a suitable rallentando.

If this is sung by a choir, the following suggestions might be useful, though probably inadvisable for congregational singing!

1. It could be effective to sing verse 2 a semitone lower, returning to ‘normal’ for verse 3.

2. Similarly, the more upbeat feel of the last verse might be enhanced by singing it in a higher key.

Review & Commentary