The Sun Sets Brightly In The Sea – Hymn Lyric
Reflecting on the beauty and anticipation of Christmas Eve, “The Sun Sets Brightly In The Sea” takes us on a poetic journey. Through vivid imagery and deep symbolism, the hymn explores the parallel between the sun’s descent into the sea and the story of Jesus’ birth. It invites us to embrace the magic and wonder of Christmas Eve, where hearts open wide and the spirit of love fills the air.
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The Sun Sets Brightly In The Sea – Hymn Lyric
The sun sets brightly in the sea,
Foreknowing what his morn shall be,
And dreams throughout the dawning night,
Of rising on the Source of Light.
Born with creation, he must wane
When Eden is revealed again;
Now is his manhood’s lusty prime
The noon and triumphing of Time.
The day has ended mild and calm,
The sea wind scarcely sways the palm;
The olive trees beneath the hill
Sleep, in its folding, hushed and still.
Above, the towers of Bethlehem
Fade in the night that falls on them,
Yet hold in guard the rocky steep
That Rehoboam bade them keep.
They overlook the lengthening vale
That stretches to the Dead Sea pale,
And far beyond, to eastern plains,
Where Ammon now no longer reigns.
O city small, ‘mid Judah’s host,
Now growing to her crown and boast;
How high at morn thy head shall be,
For earth shall bow to hallow thee!
The land of God, His people’s home,
Is captive to imperial Rome;
Necks that were proud of David’s sway
Have stooped to Cæsar’s, and obey.
The tribes, that did together meet
To serve their God with joyful feet,
Are ordered home at Cæsar’s word,
And taxed by a foreign lord.
Joseph, a man in lowly life,
With Mary his espoused wife,
Had traveled far to Bethlehem-
A branch was he of David’s stem.
No place for those of low degree
Could in that crowded city be;
And even at the lowly inn
No room could they, no welcome, win.
So where the cattle rest at night,
Oh, happy they to see such sight!
Poor in all else but love and grace,
The Virgin had her dwelling place.
She sits beside the porch of stone;
With golden blue the evening shone;
The timid stars come, one by one,
Incredulous that day was done.
Well Mary knew their forms on high,
And loved their gentle company,
When Joseph led the nightly way
From Nazareth, and shunned the day.
While Mary watches by the door,
Behold! a star unknown before
Mounts slowly up the western sky,
And then she knows her hour is nigh.
Like John the Baptist’s early word,
Which rose before, and with, His Lord,
That star, which goes before His face,
Doth preach His beauty, light and grace.
The Virgin lifts her hands above,
Her eyes are tears, her heart is love;
She sees the joy she could believe
And prays the prayer of Christmas Eve.
Meaning of The Sun Sets Brightly In The Sea
“The Sun Sets Brightly In The Sea”: Reflecting on the Beauty and Anticipation of Christmas Eve
As the evening sky begins to paint itself with vibrant hues of orange and pink, the majestic sun slowly descends into the vastness of the sea. This daily ritual, seemingly mundane, holds within it a deep sense of foreknowledge – a knowing of what the dawn will bring forth. Just like the sun, which dreams throughout the night of rising on the Source of Light, we too find ourselves eagerly awaiting the arrival of a special day – Christmas Eve.
Christmas Eve carries with it a sense of magic and wonder, as if the entire world is holding its breath in anticipation of something extraordinary. It is a time when hearts open wide, and the spirit of giving and love permeates the air. This hymn invites us to delve into the beauty and significance of Christmas Eve, drawing parallels between the sun’s journey and the story of Jesus Christ’s birth.
The verse speaks of the sun’s birth with creation and its eventual waning when Eden is revealed once more. In many ways, this mirrors the journey of Jesus, born into this world to bring redemption and restore a lost paradise. Just as the sun experiences its prime at noon, so too does Jesus experience the triumph of His mission during His time on earth.
The hymn transports us to a calm and peaceful evening, where the sea breeze barely stirs the palm trees, and the olive trees beneath the hill lay still, as if wrapped in a peaceful slumber. Above, the towers of Bethlehem fade into the night, silently guarding the rocky steep that Rehoboam commanded them to protect. This imagery sets the stage for the humble beginnings of a city that would rise to greatness.
Bethlehem, a city initially small and unassuming, would go on to become a crown jewel and a source of pride. The hymn suggests that in the morning, its head shall rise high, for the significance of Bethlehem would be acknowledged and honored by all the earth. It is a reminder that sometimes, the most unexpected and seemingly insignificant places can harbor the greatest beauty and meaning.
However, the poignant reality is that Bethlehem, and indeed the entire land of God, find themselves under the yoke of imperial Rome. The once-proud necks that boasted the reign of King David now bow to the authority of Caesar. The tribes, once united in joyful worship, are now dispersed, mandated to return to their hometowns by the decree of a foreign ruler.
In this backdrop of political turmoil, we find Joseph and Mary, a couple of humble means, embarking on a long and weary journey to fulfill their obligations. As descendants of David’s lineage, they travel to Bethlehem, the City of David, for the census. Despite their lowly status, they hold within them a profound love and grace that outshines any earthly possessions.
The hymn paints a picture of their arrival in Bethlehem, where they are met with rejection at every turn. The crowded city offers no room for those of low degree, and even the innkeeper cannot offer them a place to rest. It is in this moment of despair that the divine unfolds its plan. In a stable, amidst resting cattle, Joseph and Mary find refuge – a seemingly insignificant dwelling that becomes the sacred space where hope and love manifest.
As Mary sits beside the stone porch, bathed in the golden-blue light of the evening, timid stars begin to emerge, one by one, in skeptical wonder that the day is finally coming to a close. The hymn emphasizes Mary’s familiarity with the stars, implying a deep connection with the celestial world. It is through this special relationship that she witnesses the unexpected appearance of a star, slowly ascending the western sky, signaling the arrival of their long-awaited hour.
Just as John the Baptist’s proclamation preceded and accompanied the arrival of Jesus, this newfound star becomes a messenger of beauty, light, and grace. It preaches through its luminosity, drawing attention to the significance of the moment at hand. Mary, overwhelmed by the sight before her, lifts her hands in prayerful adoration, her eyes welling up with tears of joy and her heart overflowing with love.
In her prayer, she sees and believes in the joy that this night heralds. The hymn captures the essence of Mary’s devotion and faith as she channels her deepest hopes and desires into the prayer of Christmas Eve. It is a prayer that encapsulates the anticipation and longing felt by all who await the arrival of the Messiah, the birth of Jesus – a prayer that echoes through the ages and continues to resonate in the hearts of believers today.
“The Sun Sets Brightly In The Sea” weaves together the beauty of nature, the historical context of the time, and the timeless story of Jesus’ birth. It invites us into a world where hope springs eternal, even in the midst of uncertainty and adversity. As we reflect upon this hymn, may we too find ourselves filled with anticipation, love, and a renewed sense of faith as we approach the joyous celebration of Christmas Eve.
I hope this hymn inspired image brings you hope and peace. Share it with someone who needs it today!
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