6 thoughts on “Music Break: Day by Day

  1. Ingrid — This was beautiful; thank you for it.

    Several years ago I wrote a commentary on this hymn (I have written about 75 commentaries, in total), and I have included it below. You are welcome to post it, or not, whichever you choose.

    “Day by Day”
    A hymn on the Sovereignty of God

    In Scandinavia in the mid-nineteenth century, a large-scale revival took place, fueled by the Holy Spirit and influenced primarily by two people: Swedish lay preacher Carl Olaf Rosenius, and hymnwriter Carolina (Lina) Sandell Berg (1832-1903).*
    Lina (or “L.S.,” as she liked to sign her hymns) wrote about 650 hymns and was often called “The Fanny Crosby of Sweden.” She began writing hymns at the age of 12 to express her thankfulness to God af-ter He had healed her of a serious illness.
    Lina was devoted to her father, a Lutheran pastor who also helped initiate the revival. When Lina was 26, she went on a boat ride with her father, and in the middle of the lake he fell overboard and drowned. A short time later Lina wrote the hymn “Children of the Heavenly Father” as an expression through her grieving heart of her trust in her Father in Heaven
    Lina wrote “Day by Day” in 1865 as a means of thanking her Heavenly Father for His Providential,
    loving care for her and His protection of her through every moment of every day. Rarely does a hymn ex-press so well the concept of the Sovereignty of God. The second stanza contains three specific references to Scripture:
    ● He Whose name is Counsellor and Pow’r—from Isaiah 9:6
    ● The protection of His child and treasure—from Malachi 3:17
    ● “As thy days, thy strength shall be in measure”—from Deuteronomy 33:25 (nearly a direct quote;
    hence, the quotation marks)

    The music for this hymn was written by Oscar Ahnfelt (1813–1882), an itinerant singing evangelist, who once sang one of Lina’s hymns for the King of Sweden. The tune name is BLOTT EN DAG, the first three words of the original Swedish text. (This system of naming tunes is common for hymns originally writ-ten in other languages. “A Mighty Fortress” follows the same pattern.)
    “Day by Day” was translated into English by Andrew L. Skoog, a Swedish-born musical evangelist who lived in the Minneapolis/St. Paul area in the early 1900s. Translating a hymn is no easy task. It is one thing to write a poem with good meter and rhyme; it is quite another to take someone else’s poem, translate the concepts into another language, and then incorporate good meter and rhyme. Mr. Skoog did a masterful job with this hymn, however. Note that every phrase rhymes, and with the first phrase of every line, two syl-lables rhyme, thereby making the hymn very easy to memorize.

  2. Carol! Thanks so much for that background to the hymn that you wrote. I love reading the background on these hymns and songs. That Swedish revival is the one where my forebears were converted to Christ. The state Lutheran church in Sweden had degenerated into museum status, devoid of the true Gospel and the Word of God. God sent some real preachers of truth, and that is how my relatives became true believers. Those believing relatives are the only ones from that line of the family who came to the U.S. in the early 20th century. I agree that Mr. Skoog did a wonderful job with this hymn which is so very singable.

  3. This song is a frequent blessing- thanks for posting it. Thanks also to Carol Blair- the old hymns teach us much needed doctrine. Maranatha.

  4. Dear Ing,
    I just wanted to tell you that I honestly was going to ask you to play this on the piano while I was there and of course we always get busy with other
    things. On our visit in November I was outside your front door with Emily and I heard the tune. I came in and couldn’t believe you were playing “Day by Day.” Now you posted it on your blog. What a coincidence! I truly wanted to hear it again. You must have read my mind. Thank you (I’ll take a rain check for next visit)…love, Kris

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