Advent Day 7: A Christmas cracker - See In Yonder Manger Low

Alan Mathew, the organist for Bellshill Central Parish Church in North Lanarkshire, shares his performance of See In Yonder Manger Low especially for the Church of Scotland’s Advent calendar, ‘Bright Hope For Tomorrow’.

Alan has been hosting the popular weekly organist videos entitled ‘The Organist Entertains’ to keep people engaged with Church throughout lockdown on the Bellshill Central Parish Church website.

“The carol which you are going to enjoy is See In Yonder Manger Low, to the tune of Humility,” Alan says in his introduction.

“It's a wonderful hymn of praise for this Advent and Christmas season, joyfully uplifting and full of brightness and joyfulness.”

Alan has been the organist at Bellshill Central Church since December 2014 and had his first service on Christmas Eve.

“I was an unexpected Christmas present!” he says.

“The Organist Entertains was my idea in early lockdown to help keep people connected with their church building, to let them hear and see familiar views and sounds.

“They very quickly jumped on board and started sending in their hymn and song requests. To make it much more personal, each time someone made a request I asked questions such as: why was it requested? Did it mean something to them? Was it sung or played on a special day like a wedding or baptism?

“The initial episodes were around 15-20 minutes in length but quickly grew to 50 minutes with eight-nine items, some narrative and a closing voluntary.

“During the summer, people were so interested in the intricacies of the working of the organ that we had three weeks of insights into the different parts of the organ.

“We have had special Harvest, Remembrance and St Andrew’s Day episodes for these special occasions. We are now heading to our 40th episode, and I am immensely proud that I have helped keep so many people, from different parts of the UK and abroad, connected during this difficult time of Covid-19.

“The Organist Entertains has become a lifeline for some people who put Wednesday at 8pm in their schedules every week.

“Once lockdown is finally lifted, and we are all back together in church, the Organist Entertains will continue on a less frequent basis as this is a ministry that is definitely needed for people.

“As well as the online videos, we are producing CDs and DVDs for people who have no Internet access, with a words sheet so that they also can take part.

“From everybody here at Bellshill Central Parish Church, we wish every single one of you a very merry Christmas.

“We wish for you all to stay safe and keep well. The lights of the Advent candles are burning bright as we journey through Advent together. We wait and we watch with expectation and hope. Merry Christmas to you all.”

You can catch up with all of Alan’s previous ‘Organist Entertains’ episodes, starting from May this year, on the Bellshill Central Church website.

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Bright Hope For Tomorrow is the theme of the Church of Scotland's 2020 Advent calendar.

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Throughout the season, we'll bring you stories that highlight how church members around the country are celebrating the birth of Jesus and sharing their faith, hope and love with everyone in their communities.

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