* This hymn is written to be a carol for the Welsh service of Plygain. I am grateful that the author, Alice Evans, has approved my setting of her words. The appended (paraphrase) translation is mine.Ym-Methlem-datguddiwyd
The prophesied Word was revealed in Bethlehem centuries before the Son of God was born.
But He is not there: he wanders the wide world, looking to give us a guiding hand in life’s journey.
For, as he grew up, the Boy saw our need and He held nothing back,
but gave Himself to us wholly, labouring as a Servant in the Vineyard of the world.
He fought on behalf of his fellow humans, but was despised, condemned, and nailed to the cross,
although His love knew no limits, and His purpose was to free souls in every age.
The wholly-focused Son of God, after suffering scorn, was lent to a borrowed human grave.
But don’t look for Him there: He left his shroud behind, while seeking no praise for Himself.
He will come to us silently, as the music of a breeze, steadily pouring out His peace.
Through His deep love we receive an invitation to our Saviour’s matchless feast.
Let us recognize, and come to acknowledge our steadfast Friend through all ages,
desiring His company and celebrating His birth by praising Him, the Victor of the Cross.
This lyric won the prize at the National Eisteddfod 2010 for a new carol for the service of Plygain.
‘Plygain’ traditionally refers to singing at cock-crow on Christmas morning. Nowadays services are held, mostly in the evening, some time between Advent and Candlemas. Anyone may present themselves, singly or in a group, and, unaccompanied, sing their ‘carol y Plygain’. I know of no other form of service so able to warm the heart.
Most if not all Plygain carols have a marked emphasis on the connection between Incarnation and Atonement – between the birth in the stable and salvation won on the cross. This carol is no exception.