Long Ago Prophets Knew by Fred Pratt Green is a newer hymn, despite sounding like its been around forever.
Sung to Green’s tune PERSONENT HODIE, it again contrasts the expectation of God’s deliverance with the modest and unknown nature of Jesus’ birth.

This youth choir rendition shows the sense of joy that the hymn expresses in both lyric and melody.

The lyrics:
1
Long ago, prophets knew
Christ would come, born a Jew.
Come to make all things new;
Bear his People’s burden,
Freely love and pardon.
Refrain
Ring, bells, ring, ring, ring!
Sing, choirs, sing, sing, sing!
When he comes,
When he comes,
Who will make him welcome?
2
God in time, God in man,
This is God’s timeless plan:
He will come, as a man,
Born himself of woman,
God divinely human.
Refrain
3
Mary, hail! Though afraid;
She believed, she obeyed.
In her womb God is laid;
Till the time expected
Nurtured and protected.
Refrain
4
Journey ends! Where afar
Bethlem shines, like a star,
Stable door stands ajar.
Unborn Son of Mary,
Saviour, do not tarry!
Refrain.
Ring, bells, ring, ring, ring!
Sing, choirs, sing, sing, sing!
Jesus comes!
Jesus comes!
We will make him welcome!

Words and Music: Fred Pratt Green.
© 1971 Stainer & Bell, Ltd. admin. Hope Publishing Company

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