Keith Underhill: December 2015
All grown up — address preached by Revd Keith Underhill during the Carol Service 20th December 2015.
Unless you have an encyclopaedic knowledge of pop and music trivia, you may not recall what record was sitting at number one at Christmas-time in back in 1972.
This record stayed at number one for five weeks, having knocked Chuck Berry's "My ding-a-ling" off that spot. 5 weeks later the same fate befell the Christmas number one, as Blockbuster by Sweet outsold it.
I apologise now for what I'm going to subject you to — but this is what was number one 43 years ago! (First 20 seconds or so played)
I'll be your long haired lover from Liverpool
And I'll do anything you say
I'll be your clown or your puppet or your April Fool
If you'll be my sunshine daisy from L.A
I'll be your leprechaun and sit upon an old toad stool
I'll serenade you till I'm old and gray
I'll be your long haired lover from Liverpool
You'll be my sunshine daisy from L.A
That's it! 43 years ago today, Little Jimmy Osmond was number one with "Long haired lover from Liverpool" and at the tender age of just 9 years and 8 months, became the youngest artist to have a number one hit.
I mention this because just a few days ago, Liz was very excited as she'd heard that a new Osmond Christmas album had been released — simply called Merry Christmas and would I order it for her?
So a few seconds later having ordered it from a well known on-line business, she eagerly awaited its arrival. When it came I sent her a picture of it via Whatsapp, to which Becca asked, "What is it?" My reply, "Just a record by some old guys!"
The album features only three of the Osmonds, and 43 years later we see that little Jimmy Osmond has all grown up! I wonder if he now regrets recording his hit from all those years ago and if he, like us just now, squirms when he hears it being played?
Anyhow, it is Jimmy, Jay and Merril Osmond who have recorded the album.
Actually it is okay, not bad and they can certainly sing.
There was one track however that immediately caught my attention. It was their version and take on the song Hallelujah, originally written by Leonard Cohen, made famous by the late Jeff Buckley and that appears in many recent films, not least "Shreck the movie".
The tune is the same, there is one line that is to be found in the original, but the rest of the lyrics are all new.
Having apologised for making you listen to that short piece from little Jimmy Osmond, I make no apologies at all for playing the entirety of this track!
I've heard about this baby boy
Who's come to earth to bring us joy
And I just want to sing this song to you
It goes like this, the fourth, the fifth
The minor fall, the major lift
With every breath I'm singing Hallelujah
A couple came to Bethlehem
Expecting child, they searched the inn
To find a place for You were coming soon
There was no room for them to stay
So in a manger filled with hay
God's only Son was born, oh Hallelujah
The shepherds left their flocks by night
To see this baby wrapped in light
A host of angels led them all to You
It was just as the angels said
You'll find Him in a manger bed
Immanuel and Savior, Hallelujah
A star shown bright up in the east
To Bethlehem, the wisemen three
Came many miles and journeyed long for You
And to the place at which You were
Their frankincense and gold and myrrh
They gave to You and cried out Hallelujah
I know You came to rescue me
This baby boy would grow to be
A man and one day die for me and you
My sins would drive the nails in You
That rugged cross was my cross, too
Still every breath You drew was Hallelujah
This new version, like all good Christmas Carols, reminds us that what starts in Bethlehem, ends in Jerusalem.
This new version, like all good Christmas Carols, reminds us that His birth and His passion are connected and that his birth is linked to all that is to come; "Mild he lays his glory by, born that man no more may die"
Like little Jimmy Osmond, the babe of Bethlehem grew up and as the light of the world, he still knocks on the doors of our hearts waiting to be invited in.
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