Behind the Song: O Holy Night

In 1847, Placide Cappeau de Roquemaure was most likely shocked when the parish priest asked him to write a poem for Christmas Mass. De Roquemaure was the commissioner of wines in a small French town and well known for his poetry.  He was an unlikely person for the priest to ask to write this poem, in the fact that he was […]

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Behind the Hymn: We Gather Together

We Gather Together is a popular hymn sung at Thanksgiving.  The song was written in 1597 by Adrianus Valerius.  The original title of the Dutch hymn was “Wilt heden nu treden“. The song was written to celebrate the Dutch victory over the Spanish forces in the Battle of Turnhout.  The song acknowledges the triumph over the nation’s turbulent history. In […]

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Behind the Song: Ave Maria

Franz Schubert composed the popular Catholic hymn in 1825, as part of his Opus 52.  He titled the song “Ellens dritter Gesang” or Ellen’s Third Song. Philip Adam Storck translated and published the poem Lady of the Lake into German in 1819.  This was the inspiration for Schubert’s work. The song was composed as a setting for Sir Walter Scott’s […]

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Behind the Hymn: America the Beautiful

In honor of Veteran’s Day this week, I wanted to look at a beloved Patriotic hymn. Katharine Lee Bates and a group of colleagues ascended up Pike’s Peak by prairie wagon in the summer of 1893 while on a working vacation.  She was so inspired by the view that beheld her that she began to write the poem to America […]

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Behind the Hymn: Majesty

This is Mama’s favorite song.  In honor of her birthday this week, I thought I would cover the history of this song of praise. The song was written by Jack William Hayford, who is a pastor.  Rev. Hayford is said to have composed over 400 songs, hymns and musical works. The inspiration for this song came from a 1977 vacation […]

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Behind the Song: The Savior is Waiting

This hymn was written by Ralph Carmichael in the mid-1950s. Mr. Carmichael shares that his pastor, Lester Harnish, requested he write a new hymn to be used as an invitation each night for the upcoming revival.  This revival was scheduled to last for two weeks and would be sung at the end of the sermon. At the beginning of the […]

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Behind the Song: Burdens Are Lifted At Calvary

  This hymn was written in 1952 by Rev. John M. Moore.   Rev. Moore was born in Kirkintilloch, Dunbartonshire, Scotland on September 1, 1925.  He shares that he was raised by godly parents and accepted Christ when he was sixteen years old.  He studied the ministry in Glasgow, Scotland and served several churches in the area.  Before immigrating to […]

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Behind the Hymn: All Hail the Power of Jesus Name

Edward Perronet was born in 1726 England, the grandson of a French immigrant.  He followed in his father’s footsteps and entered the ministry. He became close friends with John and Charles Wesley, eventually leaving the Church of England and becoming a traveling Methodist minister. One story about Perronet says that Wesley encouraged him {Perronet} to preach, but he was resistant.  […]

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Behind the Hymn: Jesus Keep Me Near the Cross

This popular hymn was written by Fanny Crosby, author of over 8,000 hymns and songs. She often collaborated with composer William Doane.  Doane wrote the music and then the melody was played for Crosby.  Upon hearing the melody she said she felt it said, “Jesus, Keep me near the cross.”  She said down and wrote the words for this hymn. […]

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Behind the Hymn: Great is Thy Faithfulness

God wants to show us His faithfulness, but sometimes we have to surrender all before He can prove that He is faithful to us. Great is Thy Faithfulness was written by Thomas Obadiah Chisholm as a “testament to God’s faithfulness through his very ordinary life.” Chisholm was born in 1866 in a log cabin in Franklin, Kentucky to James Washington […]

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Hymn Story: Love Lifted Me

Love Lifted Me was a joint effort of James Rowe and Howard E. Smith.  The two friends wrote the hymn together. James Rowe was born in Horrabridge, Devonshire, England in 1865.  He was the son of a copper miner.  James worked for the Irish government for four years, before immigrating to America.  He was 24 years old when he settled […]

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Behind the Hymn Sunday: Send the Light

Send the Light was written by Charles H. Gabriel. Charles Hutchinson Gabriel was born August 18, 1856 in Wilton Iowa and raised on a farm. As a boy, Gabriel taught himself to play a small reed organ.  He was following in his father’s footsteps and leading singing schools by the age of 16. One folklore of his youth, is that […]

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Hymn Story: O How I Love Jesus

The verse to O How I Love Jesus was written by Frederick Whitfield. Frederick Whitfield was born in Threapwood, Shropshire, England on Jan. 7, 1829.  After attending Trinity College in Dublin, he became an Anglican Church clergyman. In 1875, he reached the pinnacle of his carrer when he was appointed to St. Mary’s Church in Hastings. He is credited with […]

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Behind the Song Sunday: Blessed Assurance

  Fanny Crosby went blind at the age of six weeks in 1820. Her blindness was not necessary but was due to an improper medical procedure. One day in 1873, Fanny was visiting her friend Phoebe Knapp. Phoebe began to play a tune for Fanny, which she {Phoebe} had composed. She asked Fanny what the tune said to her. Fanny’s […]

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Behind the Song Sunday: Because He Lives

  Because He Lives, was written by Bill and Gloria Gaither. The couple are still a popular Southern Gospel performers and songwriters of our day. The couple met while they were both teachers and were married in 1962. By the end of the 1960s, the Gaither’s had two daughters and were expecting their third child. They were traveling and singing […]

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