"Love! Do you know the meaning of the word?" 'How should I not?' said the Lady, 'I am in love...in Love Himself.'
~C.S. Lewis
The Great Divorce

Saturday, January 9, 2010

As With Gladness Men Of Old

It's a few days after the Epiphany, but still well within the octave. I thought then I might post a small meditation on one of my favorite Epiphany hymns. It's not that this hymn is musically anything special and as a whole the text is not as good as a few other hymns for this season. But the last verse is special. Read these words:

In that heavenly country bright,
Need they no created light.
Thou its Light, its Joy, its Crown
Thou its Sun which goes not down.

Jesus is the Light of this world, but he is also the light of heaven. He will one day perfectly shine on us the glory of the everlasting Father. As Malachi prophesied ages before, he is the "Sun of Righteousness." His purity and perfection radiate throughout the celestial city, granting unfading light. Ephiphany has to do with the manifestations of Christ. He appears to the Gentile wise men. He manifests portions of his identity at his Baptism and then at the first miracle which we performed at the wedding in Cana. But his final manifestation to his people will show that he dwells in, and is, Light. While on earth we did behold his glory, but the entirety of this was hidden, save the moment of Transfiguration, which only three saw. In heaven, we will behold the full glory of our Redeemer-not darkly, as through a glass, but face to face. We will, as St. John confesses, see him "as he is."

"There shall be no night there; and they need no candle, nor light of the sun; for the Lord God giveth them light." (Rev. 22:5)


  1. Thanks for pointing out the last stanza of William Dix's Christmas hymn, "As with Gladness Men of Old." So many hymn books seem to omit it.

    If you enjoy reading about our carols, their history and meaning, I invite you to check out my book on the subject, Discovering the Songs of Christmas. I discuss over 60 of them there. The book is available from Amazon.

  2. Robert,
    Thank you for the heads up. Hymns are a hobby/passion so I will be sure to take a look.