It is the tune everyone can hum but whose lyrics nobody seems to know…at least fully. It has become the distinct anthem of New Year’s Eve.
The song, of course, is “Auld Lang Syne,” written by the Scottish poet Robert Burns in the late 1780s.
The song is a sentimental classic, but Dustin Krensrue thought it could serve an even greater purpose. Why not take this familiar tune and give it more meaningful lyrics that could redefine the New Year and point us towards Christ? And that’s what he did. On New Year’s Eve in 2011, Kensrue penned new lyrics for the old song and renamed it “All Glory Be to Christ.”
This January at Immanuel Church, we are singing this new version with the same goal in mind: We want to start the new year with the constant reminder that all glory is reserved for Christ and Christ alone.
Verse one reads:
Should nothing of our efforts stand, No legacy survive
Unless the Lord does raise the house, In vain its builders strive
To you who boast tomorrow’s gain, Tell me, what is your life?
A mist that vanishes at dawn, All glory be to Christ!
Echoing Psalm 127:1, Proverbs 27:1, and James 4:13-16, this verse reminds us that ultimately our efforts are worthless and our boasts are vain apart from the Lord. As the song enters the chorus, we then declare that all glory and praise belongs to Christ. Verse two follows:
His will be done, His kingdom come, On earth as is above
Who is Himself our daily bread, Praise Him, the Lord of love
Let living water satisfy, The thirsty without price
We’ll take a cup of kindness yet, All glory be to Christ!
We immediately notice a shift from verse one. Instead of the failure of our efforts, we see (as the verse echoes the Lord’s Prayer found in Luke 11:2-4) that it is through Christ’s kingdom and provision we can be content. As we experience this blessing in Christ, our affections are all-the-more stirred to glorify Him. The chorus thus follows again: “All glory be to Christ!”
Finally, we arrive at verse three where these ideas come together:
When on the day the great I Am, The faithful and the true
The Lamb who was for sinners slain, Is making all things new
Behold our God shall live with us, And be our steadfast light
And we shall e’er his people be, All glory be to Christ!
The imagery here comes from the book of Revelation (Revelation 3:14, 5:12, 21:5, 21:3-4, and 21:22-23) to remind the listener that the reconciliatory work of the cross and resurrection is a present and future hope for those who believe. Through Christ, we are adopted into the Kingdom of God both now and forever. Verse three looks forward to this reality with expectation and leads us to sing the inevitable truth:
All glory be to Christ our King! All glory be to Christ!
His rule and reign we’ll ever sing, All glory be to Christ!
“All Glory Be to Christ” serves as a beautiful reminder that though our efforts fail, Christ’s perfect plan does not and will not. His kingdom is coming, and all things will be made new. We can and should glorify Christ with our lives for all He has done for us.
We want to have this heart posture going into 2018 and beyond. For this reason, we would like to sing “All Glory Be to Christ” throughout the month of January. We hope by repeating this song each Sunday we can focus and position our hearts on what Christ has done for us. So, as we venture on throughout the month and new year, let us remember that it is not our plans, but the wonderful redemptive work of Jesus that is worthy of all glory and praise!