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My Ebenezer

Saturday, December 22nd, 2007 at 23:23 ET

If anyone was reading my blog I think they would very much get the wrong idea about me…

I discovered Sufjan Stevens’ Christmas CD last year when I was visiting my brother in LA. Although he’s always been an inspiring source of less-than-popular (at least in a consumerism-is-king kind of way) pop music, this CD in particular seems unlikely. Perhaps me and my brother don’t talk enough about Christmastime, from a spiritual perspective. Or, rather, I reckon it’s probably that the music is more than enough to stand on it’s own, the message of the song isn’t really a factor. It doesn’t really matter though, finding it was cool. This song is just a hymn — many people probably know it well, perhaps by heart. I had known it before too, but I remember hearing it while my brother was driving us around LA and just being, I don’t know how to describe it, awestruck. I think more than once I had to be forcibly pulled back into the conversation.

I looked it up: this song is not in the “Christmas” section of my hymnal. I found it under “The Christian Life.” I think that’s part of what draws me in…that even though there are plenty of secular and plenty of religious Christmas songs out there, not too many of them speak so plainly about what the birth of Jesus means to me. They talk about what it means to Mankind, but few predict the implications it will have on our individual lives.

I had to look-up the word Ebenezer (and I think a lot of people would be there with me) to even understand the second verse. The website anotherthink.com has a very interesting post on the subject and I read some very interesting comments at the bottom of the page. I learned that Ebenezer is an Old Testament reference to a monument to remind us of our faith; I really like the idea. For a lot of people I think that Easter and Christmas serve as Ebenezer stones in their own way.

This hymn fits on the Christmas CD because of it’s link in reminding us of our faith — it’s an invitation for Jesus to be born. This is the perfect time for the loudest singing of songs of rejoycing and praise. It’s a time to remember how much our God loves us. It’s a time to build our own monuments and set them firm on our hearts. And this is a time to invite our own God to come into our world and into our lives and into our families and into us.

Come, thou Fount of every blessing,
tune my heart to sing thy grace.
Streams of mercy, never ceasing,
call for songs of loudest praise.
Teach me some melodious sonnet
sung by flaming tongues above.
Praise the mount, I’m fixed upon it,
mount of thy unchanging love.

Here I raise mine Ebenezer,
hither by thy help I’m come.
And I hope, by thy good pleasure,
safely to arrive at home.
Jesus sought me when a stranger,
wandering from the fold of God.
He, to rescue me from danger,
interposed his precious blood.

O to grace, how great a debtor,
daily I’m constrained to be.
Let that grace now, like a fetter,
bind my wandering heart to thee.
Prone to wander, Lord, I feel it,
prone to leave the God I love.
Here’s my heart, O, take and seal it,
seal it for thy courts above.

Come, thou Fount of every blessing,
tune my art to sing thy grace.
Streams of mercy, never ceasing,
call for songs of loudest praise.
Teach me some melodious sonnet
sung by flaming tongues above.
Praise the mount, I’m fixed upon it,
mount of thy unchanging love.

“Come Thou Fount of Every Blessing”
Sufjan Stevens
Songs for Christmas
© 2006 Asthmatic Kitty Records

Filed under: Spirituality and Faith

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