Advent 11 – While Shepherds Watched

“While Shepherds Watched Their Flocks” is a Christmas carol describing the Annunciation to the Shepherds, with words attributed to Irish hymnist, lyricist and England’s Poet Laureate Nahum Tate.

The exact date of Tate’s composition is not known, but the words appeared in Tate and Nicholas Brady’s 1700 supplement to their New Version of the Psalms of David of 1696. It was the only Christmas hymn authorised to be sung by the Anglican Church; before 1700 only the Psalms of David were permitted to be sung. It is written in common metre and based on the Gospel of Luke 2:8-14.

It is the only one of the sixteen works in the 1700 supplement to still be sung today. It was published by Davies Gilbert (London, 1822), and William B. Sandys (London, 1833). The carol is most commonly sung to two different tunes: Winchester Old in the United Kingdom and a variation on a Handel aria arranged by Lowell Mason in the United States.

The southern version:

When and where was Jesus born?

This was down for 6 p.m., it’s more a six-pee-emmy type post but of course, that is May confidence vote time, so the space is left open for comment. Onto this post:

I’m hoping we can get past any question of His being born and leave questions of virgin birth and divinity for another time. I’m assuming here that we’re only looking at two questions – when and where.

For a September date:

Some more detail:

For personal reasons, I’d like it to have been either September 7th or September 29th.

Now, where? For Nazareth:

Disputing Bethlehem:

As for the manger, I’m happy enough for it not to have been a cowshed:

… but can’t see why it could not be a manger He was laid in.