Eden to Eternity

  Included in my writings for Lent, these words are taken from two hymns written for the same hymn tune, Morning Has Broken and Child in a Manger. The original melody was noted by Alexander Fraser from a wandering Scottish Highland minstrel. Mary McDonald (1789 – 1872) wrote the words of the nativity hymn. Later, Eleanor Farjeon wrote words for the same tune which were originally printed in 1931 but not copyrighted until 1957 under its correct title, A Morning Song for the First Day of Spring.

 Until today, I had never considered the two sets of words together and when I did as I listened to the haunting tune, I felt a connection between the thoughts of the two women. My heart filled as I considered the continuity and the depth of holding God’s work of creation, nativity, death, and resurrection in my own thoughts. First Eden, then Bethlehem, then on to Jerusalem.

 Morning has broken,blackbird spoken,

First morning, first bird.

Praise singing and springing.

Sweet rainfall

Heavenly sunlight

First dew, first grass

Praise garden and path.

My sunlight.

My morning.

Newborn Eden displayed

Praise Creator and created.

Then, Manger Child.

Outcast and stranger,

Transgression swaddled,

Wrapped in my wrong.

Child once most holy,

Living that lowly,

Now filled with glory

In salvation story.

Prophesied Wonder,

Royalty revealed.

Word defined… Atoned,

I am His own.

Mary Ann Parker April 12, 2011

2 thoughts on “Eden to Eternity

  1. Beautiful reflection. I found my self quietly singing this as I read your poem. I never knew about the writers of the tune and the words, nor that there was a Christmas hymn set to the tune. Sun lit from heaven – Eden has play. A beautiful reflection in this week leading up to Palm Sunday and the descent into Holy Week. Thank you, Sonja


    • I loved working on the thoughts while listening to the music, Sonja. I was aware of the Christmas carol, but like you, had been more familiar with Morning Has Broken. Now, I don’t think I will ever be able to sing the latter without the overlay of the words “Child in a Manger.”


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