Wolverhampton`s radio station, 101.8 WCR FM, has commissioned Poet in Residence Ian Henery to spread the power of love over Wolverhampton in the lead up to Christmas.
Every week he has written a poem based on the 4 Advent candles which decorate the traditional Advent Wreath at Christmas. The poems have been broadcast on 101.8 WCR FM, which broadcasts online, FM radio, Spotify and Listen Again and the poems have been released on social media and the radio station`s website (www.wcrfm.com) for Wolverhampton to enjoy.
“Churches will typically adorn an Advent wreath during December” explained Ian Henery. Four candles decorate the outer edges of the wreath and one white candle sits in the middle. The church will light one of the candles each week and on Christmas Eve will light the candle in the centre”.
In the previous weeks Ian Henery has written poems about hope, peace and joy. These poems have been broadcast and released on the radio station`s social media. The fourth candle is the candle of love.
“No matter faith a person has” said Ian Henery “and even if they have no faith at all the virtues of love, hope, peace and joy are important not only to the Christmas story but our daily lives. How would we function if we had no hope? If there was no joy and peace in our lives? And what the world needs right now is love.”
According to Ian love plays a vital role in the Christmas story. Joseph was in love with Mary and didn`t stone her to death when he found out she was pregnant with what he thought was a child out of wedlock with another man. Mary has a natural motherly love for Jesus and ultimately we see God`s love for everyone by sending his son for us. Throughout Jesus`s ministry he focused on preaching love and two of his greatest commandments involve love: love God and love your neighbour.
“Love is the greatest of all the virtues on the Advent Wreath” said Ian Henery “and encompasses Jesus` entire purpose for being on earth.”
The inspiration for Ian`s poem came from watching a video, “The Power of Love”, by British band Frankie Goes to Hollywood. It was written by Holly Johnson, Peter Gill, Mark O`Toole and Brian Nash, 4 of the 5 members of the band and released as their 3rd single from the album “Welcome to the Pleasuredome”. It followed it`s two predecessors, “Relax” and “Two Tribes” to the top of the UK singles charts scoring the band an early December number one in the UK, Europe, Canada, Australia and New Zealand.
“To commemorate the Christmas release” explained Ian Henery “Godley & Creme directed a Nativity-themed video for the single. The artwork for the single cover is a reproduction of The Assumption of the Virgin by Titian, a 16th century painting in the Basilica di Santa Maria Gloriosa dei Frari of Venice. Although it was originally released in 1984 reissues and remixes of the song have been top UK hits in 1993, 2000, 2012 and 2014 thanks to it being the trailer for the TV series Resurrection.”
Holly Johnson, who co-wrote the song, later reminisced “I always felt like “The Power of Love” was the record that would save me in this life. There is a Biblical aspect to its spirituality and passion; the fact that love is the only thing that matters in the end”.
The song has been played in episodes of East Enders, Dancing on Ice, the Christmas episode of Misfits, the movie Cashback and Lee and Lucy`s wedding in Not Going Out.
Bethlehem – At the Stable Door
It was dark in a small Judean town
And, for the couple, no room at the inn;
Evening stars appeared and the night came down,
So the Nativity Story begins.
Mary and Joseph were out on the road,
Judea`s King Herod and Bethlehem;
The donkey carrying a heavy load,
The angels, shepherds and three wise men.
It is the classic Christmas Card story:
The Son of God, in a manger, is laid;
Angels are witnesses to God`s glory,
The birth to a Virgin, a Jewish maid,
Among the animals in a stable.
There were no beds for the night, they are poor
And it is the truth, not myth or fable,
God was made flesh behind the stable door.
Long ago, we walked away from that scene
And we do whatever we like and please;
We have now forgotten what Christmas means ,
War and hatred has brought us to our knees.
We should all step up to that stable door
And if we looked deep inside we would see
The path to peace and love, for evermore,
Redeeming grace for lost humanity.
Mothers cry for children before the Cross,
Millions of conflicts around the world;
Pining for the babies that they have lost
As Death`s banner is once again unfurled.
“Peace on Earth” was the angels` Christmas song
But today we are once more mired in war;
In our lives, where does love really belong?
Step up, people, come to the stable door.
Judea – inn crowded, no room for them,
But a light in the darkness in a star;
The drama of Christmas at Bethlehem,
Oriental kings travelling afar.
Faithful shepherds watching their flocks by night,
They all came to the manger to adore;
Here, the first apostles framed by starlight,
Christmas witnessed at the stable door.
Shepherds and kings saw glory in the skies,
Angel throngs sang the holy infant`s birth;
Witnessed that night, the simple and the wise,
The Saviour and Redeemer of the Earth.
Born in a stable, place of mystery,
Witnesses found what they were looking for:
God Himself, born for all humanity,
The Prince of Peace beyond the stable door.
The world offers nothing better today
And such love is difficult to conceive;
At Christmas, God`s love for all is displayed,
Celebrated, glorified and believed.
The power of knowledge, so high and vast,
Intellect, like a bird, may truly soar:
Star-guided, everyone comes at last
To God, Bethlehem and the stable door.