Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Christmas Eve 1940 - Kenneth Morse

In 1943, Kenneth Morse began a thirty-five year tenure on the denominational staff. He edited youth publications from 1943-1950 and became as editor of The Gospel Messenger in 1950. In 1965 he and his staff radically changed the magazine's appearance and the name was changed to Messenger. In 1971 he became book editor for Brethren Press but continued as associate editor of Messenger until his retirement in 1978.

Morse was noted as a poet and hymn writer (including "Move in Our Midst"). A book of his hymns, poems and prayers, Listen to the Sunrise, was published in 1991. The earliest of the poems is a meditation for Christmas Eve, 1940, when our country was preparing to conscript its young men to serve in a war that came a year later. It seems appropriate for this day as well.

Christmas Eve, 1940

Will the angels sing on the hills tonight
When the world is weary with war?
Will they sing again of peace on earth?
Will the shepherds hear them once more?

Will the wise men see the star tonight
While the fires of hate burn high?
Will they bring to the child their gifts of love?
Will they find his star in the sky?

Will the Lord God intervene tonight
To halt the hatred of men?
Or will this night of horror spread
To cripple the world again?

To the ears of faith the angels sing,
To the eyes of hope the star leads on;
To the hearts who wait the Lord God speaks;
To the world he gives his son.

Sources: The Brethren Encyclopedia
Listen to the Sunrise,
Kenneth I. Morse