‘12 Days of Christmas’: Featuring the Writings of Kenneth I. Morse


This is the first in an occasional Newsline series in the run-up to the 2013 Annual Conference. The 100th anniversary of the birth of poet and hymnwriter Kenneth I. Morse will be remembered when the Conference meets on a theme based on his hymn, “Move in Our Midst.” From now until Annual Conference, Newsline will take a look back at Morse’s work on the editorial staff of “Messenger” during the turbulent 1960s and ’70s, when he made creative contributions to the church that still speak today.

Morse wrote the lyrics for this alternative Christmas carol, and a new tune with harmonization by Wilbur Brumbaugh (see the accompanying graphic for the music, copyright Church of the Brethren):

On the first day of Christmas
God gives us all a child,
A baby, a brother,
A friend both meek and mild.


On the second day of Christmas
God sorrows at our strife.
The marvel, the wonder,
He turns our death to life.
On the third day of Christmas
God lifts a flaming star
That all men should seek him
Who finds them where they are.


On the fourth day of Christmas
The heavens burn with light.
No shadow, no darkness
Can turn that day to night.
On the fifth day of Christmas
The skies break into song.
Such singing, such music
Allows no place for wrong.


On the sixth day of Christmas
God wraps the earth in joy.
Come shepherds, come sages
To honor Mary’s boy.
On the seventh day of Christmas
God gives the world its king.
Let old men and children
Begin and ever sing.


 On the eighth day of Christmas
God says, “Let hatred cease.
This child and his kingdom
Shall bring the world its peace.”
On the ninth day of Christmas
God speaks a mighty word.
The burdened, the lonely
Find welcome with their Lord.


On the tenth day of Christmas
God says, “Good men, look up.
Let fears be forgotten
And trust this child of hope.”
On the eleventh day of Christmas
God’s purpose is unfurled.
A Savior is given,
for God so loves the world.


On the twelfth day of Christmas
What shall this Savior prove?
His mission is mercy,
His ministry is love.

©1969 by the Church of the Brethren General Board

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