Ring Out, Noel

Worship Service,  December 12, 2005

Mildred Cannon has been a member of our church since 1973.  Following her husband’s death, she composed "Ring Out, Noel" originally for piano and choir in the 1970’s.  It was first sung in a small church in the area, called the Pilgrim Church.  In 1980, she shared it with me.  The beautiful strains of the cantata were very evident and with inspiration we re-orchestrated the cantata.  I enjoyed adding the flute, harp and chime parts and together with Mildred added the organ part.  The text is also by Mildred using passages from the Gospel of Saint Luke.  I have always felt that such inspiration comes from above.  Thus this cantata, in its new form, was first sung at Rockville UMC in December of 1980, then in 1983 at Oakdale Emory UMC, then in 2001 at Rockville UMC and the rendition recorded below sung at Rockville UMC on December 11, 2005.  This is Mildred’s one and only major composition; truly God was working through her.   (Notes by Ken Dahlin)                                                                     

Track 1
"Ring Out, Noel" opens with an instrumental prelude that portrays the scene of that first Christmas Eve
with the bright star of Bethlehem shining down upon earth. 
Shepherds, unaware of the significance of the night, idly played their flutes while keeping their routine vigil.
The minor key suggests a bleakness of life, but the change to the major key conveys the hope for peace
as the true light makes its way down through
the darkness.

Track 2
Once when darkness ruled the earth many years ago, promise of a wondrous birth then set hearts aglow;

For fear and conflict, grief and strife, had stilled the joy of human life. Now He shall come to set men free,
and show God’s love though all eternity.
In the silence of the night shines a radiant star.  Wise men who have seen the light, travel from afar.
To reach the place which marks the start of new hope dawning in the heart; the way, the truth, the life, the light,
to this dark world is born, is born this night.
The shepherds watching flocks by night, all seated on the ground,
Looked up and saw a wondrous sight and heard angelic sounds.

Track 3
And the angel of the Lord came upon them, And the glory of the Lord shown round about them;
And they were sore afraid.  And the angel said unto them, “Fear not, for behold, I bring you tidings of great joy!
For unto you is born this day in the city of David, a Savior, which is Christ, the Lord
And this shall be a sign unto you; Ye shall find the Babe wrapped in swaddling clothes, lying in a manger”.

Track 4
Then suddenly there was with the angel, a multitude of the heavenly host, praising God and saying,
“Glory to God in the highest, and peace on earth, good will toward men.”

Track 5
And it came to pass as the angel had gone away from them into heaven, the shepherds said one to another,
“Let us go now e’en to Bethlehem and see this thing which God has made known unto us and let us worship Him.”
O come, all ye faithful, joyful and triumphant,  O come let us adore him, Christ the Lord.
And the shepherds found Mary and Joseph and the Babe - the Babe lying in a manger.

See Him peacefully sleeping, while the angels above sing their praise to a Savior with unspeakable love.
Mary, Joseph, and shepherds rejoice with that heavenly throng;
For peace and good will He shall bring to humanity, slumbering now to a song.
Star of wonder keep shining, through the ages reveal.  In the hearts of all nations, His presence is real.
Bringing hope to all races.  Shine on by thy brightness above.
We still seek to find and to worship this Holy One, gift of God’s love - Lullaby, lullaby.
And the shepherds returned, glorifying God for all things they had heard and seen,
Spreading words of hope and joy to those who would believe.
This revelation now is made known to all who will receive,
And though the passing years have proven change, the angel’s song of truth still rings around the world,
For all who claim the message of God’s love it brings!

Track 6
O Holy Child of Bethlehem, descend to us, we pray.  Cast out our sin and enter in, be born in us today.
(Second time through Men’s Voices as a counter melody with the  Women’s Voices)
Star of wonder keep shining, through the ages reveal.  In the hearts of all nations, His presence is born in us today.