Charles Wesley originally titled this text simply “Morning Hymn.” Indeed, the text is filled with images of morning, light, and day. Of course, Jesus Christ, the Light of the World, is praised as the true source of all light.
Even though Charles Gounod wrote one of the more famous tunes for this hymn, I’ve never felt like any of the tunes do the text and theme justice. This wide-eyed, joyful text needs something that makes you feel the refreshing hope of a new sunrise.
I hope my tune captures some of that vitality. It is a simple folk song with a melody that rises and sets like the sun. Though the song itself is simple and singable, I’ve added a challenging and exciting instrumental verse that can be played by either keyboard or two solo instruments. In this recording, I used the keyboard solo as an intro and the duet as an instrumental verse between verses 2 and 3.
1 Christ, whose glory fills the skies;
Christ, the true, the only light;
Sun of Righteousness, arise;
triumph o’er the shades of night;
Dayspring from on high, be near;
Daystar, in my heart appear.
2 Dark and cheerless is the morn
unaccompanied by thee;
joyless is the day’s return
till thy mercy’s beams I see;
till they inward light impart,
cheer my eyes and warm my heart.
3 Visit then this soul of mine;
pierce the gloom of sin and grief;
fill me, radiancy divine;
scatter all my unbelief;
more and more thyself display,
shining to the perfect day.