31 Days of Song, Day #26

I hope everyone enjoyed their Christmas yesterday.  I certainly did.

I feel kind of weird continuing to post Christmas music, but then, if you really think about it, most Christmas songs speak about what happened after Christmas.

The song I chose for today is "There's a Song in the Air".  May there be a song in your heart today as you rejoice in His birth!

* Praise the LORD!  Sing to the LORD a new song, and His praise in the assembly of saints.  Psalm 149:1

For a long time, Josiah Gilbert Holland was known to his friends as a failure at just about everything he tried.  Dropping out of high school, he tried his hand at photography, then calligraphy.  When those professions didn't pan out, Josiah, twenty-one, enrolled at Berkshire Medical College.  After graduation, he practiced medicine in Springfield, Massachusetts, for a while before quitting to start a newspaper.  The paper folded after six months.  At length, he joined the editorial staff of another newspaper, the Springfield Republican, there he finally found his niche in writing.
   In 1865, the world as stunned by the tragic assassination of Abraham Lincoln.  The next year it was Josiah Holland who published the first major biography of Lincoln.  In it, he presented Lincoln as a "true-hearted Christian" and provided a number of stories to reinforce the point.  When Lincoln's free-thinking law partner, William Herndon, read the book, he refuted it.  Lincoln was an "infidel," declared Herndon, and he died as an "unbeliever".  To this day, historians argue about Lincoln's religious faith, or lack of it.  But the notoriety put Josiah Holland on the literary map of his day.
   In 1870, he became a founder and the senior editor of Scribner's Magazine.  He continued publishing books and was quite prolific.  In 1872, he published The Marble Prophecy and Other Poems.  In it were the four stanzas of "There's a Song in the Air."  It was an unusual poem, in that the first four lines of each stanza contained six syllables each, but the fifth and sixth lines were twice as long.  Two years later, it was set to music in a collection of Sunday school songs, but didn't achieve widespread popularity.
   Several years after Josiah's death in 1881, a Latin professor named Karl Pomeroy Harrington read "There's a Song in the Air."  Harrington was an amateur musician who had begun writing melodies as a youngster on the small organ in his childhood home.  Harrington later inherited that old Estey organ and moved it to his vacation cottage in North Woodstock, New Hampshire.  While spending the summer there in 1904, he sat down at the old instrument, pumping the bellows with the foot pedals, and hammered out the lovely melodic tune to which "There's a Song in the Air" is now widely sung.

There's a song in the air!
There's a star in the sky!
There's a mother's deep prayer
and a baby's low cry!
And the star rains its fire
while the beautiful sing,
for the manger of Bethlehem
cradles a King!

There's a tumult of joy
o'er the wonderful birth,
for the virgin's sweet boy
is the Lord of the earth.
Ay! the star rains its fire
while the beautiful sing,
for the manger of Bethlehem
cradles a King!

In the light of that star
lie the ages impearled;
and that song from afar
has swept over the world.
Every hearth is aflame,
and the beautiful sing
in the homes of the nations
that Jesus is King!

We rejoice in the light,
and we echo the song
that comes down through the night
from the heavenly throng.
Ay! we shout to the lovely
evangel they bring,
and we greet in his cradle
our Savior and King! 

* excerpt taken from Then Sings My Soul Special Edition by Robert Morgan, pages 54-55

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