Gentle Joseph Heard a Warning
Carson Cooman

Composer Carson Cooman
Text Carl P. Daw, Jr.
Voicing TTBB, organ
Lectionary usage Christmas
Price $2.25 (U.S.)
Length 3' 20" Released 7/19
Catalog no. 405-235
Difficulty Mod. easy

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Gentle Joseph heard a warning
   from an angel in the night;
valiant Mary, maiden mother,
   roused from sleep, prepared for flight:
thus the Christ-child's family lived out
   what the prophet had foretold,
that he might be called from Egypt
   as God's people were of old.

Targets of a tyrant's army,
   seeking safety, fleeing strife,
leaving house and land and kindred,
   spurred by dreams of peaceful life;
through the desert of unknowing
   and the night of doubt they went,
guided by God's promised presence,
   by that trust made confident.

Give us, God, such faith and courage
   when we move from place to place,
and to those who come among us,
   make us channels of your grace.
Let us see in every stranger
   refugees from Bethlehem,
help us offer each one welcome
   and receive the Christ in them.

Text: Carl P. Daw, Jr.
© 1990 Hope Publishing Company, All rights reserved. Used by permission.


review copy

This anthem for men’s voices and organ was written for the 108th annual Christmas Carol Services at the Memorial Church, Harvard University. Carl Daw’s text uses Joseph’s warning and the flight into Egypt as a metaphor for the welcoming of the stranger among us: “Let us see in every stranger refugees from Bethlehem.” Carson Cooman’s music begins with the troubled atmosphere of warning and flight before gradually building to an exultant and affirmative conclusion.


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