The Race That Long in Darkness Pined

OK, we admit that this year’s traditional gift of a Christmas Carol to Mommy from the girls is a bit of a stretch this year. So, maybe you’ve never heard of this fine liturgical hymn written in 1781 by John Morison. And so what if we can only find one recording of the song?

It works for us, especially since our fantastic Mommy ran in the Nike Womens Half Marathon in San Francisco back in October. She trained for several months, with more than a few early-morning runs in darkness. So there!

The Race That Long In Darkness Pined

1. The race that long in darkness pined,
Have seen a glorious Light;
The people dwell in day, who dwelt
In death’s surrounding night.

2. To hail Thy rise, Thou better Sun,
The gathering nations come,
Joyous as when the reapers bear
The harvest treasures home.

3. To us a Child of Hope is born,
To us a Son is given;
Him shall the tribes of earth obey,
Him all the hosts of heaven.

4. His Name shall be the Prince of Peace,
Forevermore adored;
The Wonderful, the Counselor,
The great and mighty Lord.

Hey! Take a look at the fourth stanza … those words bear a striking resemblance to one of our favorite carol performances ever: “For Unto Us a Child is Born,” by the Roches. So, upon further review, we discovered that Morison also wrote “To us a Child of Hope is Born,” which is essentially the same thing lyrically. Pretty cool, eh?

And for extra measure, the carol was adapted into at least two other songs, The People That in Darkness Sat and The People That in Darkness Walked. You could easily argue that the former lil’ diddy describes the three of us waiting at SF’s Justin Herman Plaza in the wee hours of the morning before Mommy came running by. And then there was the Walk to Feed The Hungry we did in Sacramento for Thanksgiving — no darkness, but our race was certainly adapted from Mommy’s big half-marathon effort.

Before choosing this one, we had tried really hard to come with an Italian-Dutch carol tie-in, but a good option never really presented itself.