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Frank houghton (1894–1972) to be an evangelical Anglican bishop and longtime director of China Inland Mission, the ministry founded by the missionary pioneer Hudson Taylor. House turn was likewise a hymn writer and also is most renowned for his stirring Christmas carol, “Thou who Was Rich beyond All Splendor.” The chant is a reflection on 2 Corinthians 8:9.

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Chip Stam, the so late director that the Institute for Christian praise at The southern Baptist Theological Seminary, tells of the background behind the hymn.

Serving as Editorial Secretary for the China Inland Mission, candid Houghton make a trip to China in 1934 to view first-hand the development of the work. This chant was composed at a particularly complicated time in the history of the missions to China. Missionaries had actually been captured by the communist Red Army and also released in negative health after end a year that suffering. Others had actually been recorded never to be heard from again. In 1934 the young missionaries John and Betty Stam (my good aunt and also uncle) were caught in Anhwei and also beheaded. The news of these sorrows had actually reached the mission’s headquarters in Shanghai. Despite this was a very dangerous time because that both the Chinese Christians and the foreign missionaries, frank Houghton made decision he needed to begin a tour with the country to visit miscellaneous missionary outposts. When traveling end the hills of Szechwan, the an effective and comforting native of 2 Corinthians 8:9, “though he to be rich, however for her sake he ended up being poor,” to be transformed into this beautiful Christmas hymn.

From the first word till the last, this singing is about Christ. Each stanza explores a different facet of the work of ours Lord: his humiliation, incarnation, and also exaltation. Taken together, friend are provided a breathtaking portrayal the the Christ of Christmas.

The very first stanza focuses on the child of god’s humiliation:

Thou that wast rich past all splendor, all for love’s sake becamest poor; thrones for a manger didst surrender, sapphire-paved courts for stable floor. Thou who wast rich beyond all splendor, all for love’s sake i do not care poor.

The 2nd stanza focuses on the boy of oh my gosh incarnation:

Thou who art God past all praising, every for love’s sake becamest man;
stooping for this reason low, however sinners raising, heavenward through thine eternal plan. Thou that art God past all praising, all for love’s sake becamest man.

The final stanza focuses on the boy of oh my gosh exaltation:

Thou who art love beyond all telling, savior and also King, we worship thee. Emmanuel, within united state dwelling, make us what thou wouldst have actually us be. Thou that art love beyond all telling, Savior and also King, we worship thee.

The hymn reminds united state that Christmas is around a gift past our comprehension. In his humiliation, the kid of God exchanged a throne because that a manger, celestial courts for a stable floor, and also riches because that poverty (Phil. 2:5–8). In his incarnation, the kid of God became a guy in order come redeem his people from their sins (cf. Matt. 1:21–23; john 1:1, 14). In his exaltation, Christ is the thing of our love and also adoration (Phil. 2:9–11). This is one of the reasons why ns love this carol. It reminds me that the only fitting response to the Christ of Christmas is worship.

Christmas is around a gift beyond all splendor, all praising, every telling. You simply cannot fathom how magnificent this gift is. Girlfriend see, Christmas is about the greatest, and costliest, gift of all––the gift the Christ himself. Together the Apostle Paul states, “For you recognize the grace of our lord Jesus Christ, the though he to be rich, however for your sake he ended up being poor, so that you through his poor might end up being rich” (2 Cor. 8:9).

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Dr. Man Tweeddale is scholastic dean and also professor that Theology in ~ Reformation holy bible College.