There’s A New Day Dawning

“There’s A New Day Dawning” was written about a hundred years ago. Back then, what new day was our song writer thinking of? Please give this bright song a sing-along listen, then we’ll talk about three possible candidates for this “new day” – each still in the running today, and all with great promise for every one of us.

New day dawning – take one

This song is a bit of a puzzle. It asserts there is a new day dawning – which must be important – but says little about that day. On the other hand it is loaded with exhortation to rise up, obey the Lord and serve. What new day is the songwriter thinking of that leads him to give such a call to action?

Given this song’s age and title, at first I assumed this song’s “new day dawning” was the day Jesus Christ returns. We read about it in 1 Thessalonians 4 (BSB) – “For the Lord Himself will descend from heaven with a loud command, with the voice of an archangel, and with the trumpet of God, and the dead in Christ will be the first to rise. After that, we who are alive and remain will be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air. And so we will always be with the Lord.”

When Christ returns evil-doers will no longer run things and then, as the song says, “♫♪ the nations of the world shall worship Christ the King ♫♪”. That will be a great day! New bodies, perfect health, rejoined with loved ones – and so we will always be with the Lord. This is the Lord’s promise and we cherish the hope it brings.

It does the song no harm and brightens our day to let it remind us of this, our hope of Christ’s return.

But I don’t think that’s what this song is about.

New day dawning – take two

Another possible intent for this song’s “new day dawning” is found in Lamentations 3:
“Yet I call this to mind, and therefore I have hope: Because of the loving devotion of the LORD we are not consumed, for His mercies never fail. They are new every morning; great is Your faithfulness! ‘The LORD is my portion,’ says my soul, ‘therefore I will hope in Him.’”

Maybe this song is about Lamentations days which are “new every morning.”

Here the Lord shares a tremendous truth. Because of the loving devotion of the LORD we are not consumed, for His mercies never fail. They are new every morning; great is Your faithfulness!”

We all miss the mark at times and need to get back in fellowship with the Lord. Praise the Lord, He promised His mercies never fail. They are new every morning. We do not need to stay out of fellowship until some day next year or even next week. It says “new every morning” – and it is morning somewhere every moment of the day. Think about that!

As we live in fellowship with the Lord our own day-after-day lives get better — and we take our place in the “new day dawning” in which, as the song says, “♫♪ the nations of the world shall worship Christ the King ♫♪”.

It does the song no harm and brightens our day to let it remind us to receive the Lord’s mercy, live in fellowship and serve with love and gladness always.

But I don’t think that’s what this song is about.

New day dawning – take three

For about a hundred years now the popular teaching has been that this world is only going to continue to get worse and worse until Christ comes back and gets us out of here. “No need to plant trees”, I thought. “Christ will return before they grow big enough to produce any fruit.”

I’ve heard that up until about hundred years ago, most Christians believed that spreading the gospel could and would bring us to the place where“♫♪ the nations of the world shall worship Christ the King ♫♪”. The call was to bring Christ to the nations — certainly not to hide until Christ returns.

So, how do we read our times? Is it getting worse or is the Lord gaining ground?

The new birth brings new power and ability, and Christianity has not failed, nor is it receding. It is advancing. Compare its status in the first century with its status today. I’ve heard that in 1900, about one in thirty worldwide said they were Christian. By 2020 it was closer to one in three. Not sure of the actual numbers, but I am sure people are making the case that things are going in a good direction. But it depends on how we look at it, and how we understand scriptures on the times.

More and more people think we are getting the most encouraging glimpses of “a new day dawning” in recorded history. Is darkness winning? Actually, light is exposing darkness as never before, darkness that has always been there — we just did not know until now. Recall light dispels darkness. The Lord is moving in a huge way.

What do we do about THIS new day dawning?

I believe this song fits this kind of new day. That would explain the song’s rich exhortation to rise up, believe God’s Word and serve. More than conquerors!

We looked at three possible understandings of the songwriter’s “new day dawning”. When you get right down to it, all three understandings send us in the same direction — rise up and walk for the Lord while we draw breath. No retreating. “Occupy until I come.”

It does the song no harm and brightens our day – and gives us great direction – to let it instruct us to be encouraged by the revivals and reformations popping up around the world right now. To grab our part of the Lord’s work — at home, school, work, play — and run with it.

I like to lean a little toward this third understanding as the one our songwriter was thinking of. What ever way we read this song, can we agree every day is the right time to live for the Lord? As long as we are on this earth and drawing breath let us see the promises and possibilities that come with each new day dawning.

God bless you lots
-Dale R.

Download this song sheet

LYRICS – There’s A New Day Dawning
Text: Alfred Henry Ackley (1923)
Tune: Bentley DeForest Ackley

1. Go forth to serve, as Jesus went,
To minister to men;
As messengers from heaven sent,
To love as he did then.

There’s a new day dawning,
There’s a new day dawning,
Then arise, O children of the light,
Arise and sing!
There’s a new day dawning,
There’s a new day dawning,
When the nations of the world shall worship
Christ the King.

2. Be loyal to God’s Holy Word,
Delivered to the saints;
Hold fast the truth that you have heard
Against the world’s complaints.

3. Seek Christ, His will, His sacrifice,
His blessed way to live;
Let self die out, Christ shall suffice,
To Him your spirit give.

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5 Replies to “There’s A New Day Dawning”

  1. Beth DeVoe

    Better late than never, it’s good to know l won’t be late to that one new day dawning ! But l wanted to thank you for the reminder that light dispels darkness and we are the light bearers to the world. What a privilege ,what joy !!

  2. Julia Witchard

    Greetings,Mr Dale and Ms Cathy, … Thanks for sharing this song and sermon…………”A NEW DAY DAWNING “……what an amazing song and sermon……u took a hundred yr. old song , and sermon and wrote a message behind it that will last a lifetime ..I read and reread it, “the song, word for word ..and notice how u came up with an amazing reason behind the song and sermon, it’s amazing how OUR FATHER JESUS, THROUGH OUR HEAVENLY FATHER HOLY SPIRIT PLACES THOUGHTS IN OUR HEARTS AND MINDS WHEN HE WANTS TO USE US TO MAKE KNOWN WHAT AND WHEN HE WANTS A CERTAIN MESSAGE TO BE KNOWN, AND HE KEEPS USING THE BOTH OF U, TO DO HIS CALLING. … THROUGH OUR FATHER HOLY SPIRIT…….u took, day one two and three and put it in perspective and touch on some amazing points about….”A NEW DAY DAWNING”…if we just meditate on the song and sermon, it will lead us beyond what we need to know about. “A NEW DAY DAWNING”. ….. because every day is a new day dawning as u put it, and we are to share it …..that new day , with whomever we meet …Thanks for researching Mr Alfred song and bringing it back to life…these are memories that will last a life time…….and “YES”…… EVERY DAY IS A NEW DAY TO SHOW OUR HEAVENLY FATHER JESUS THAT HE DIDN’T DIE IN VAIN, AN THAT HIS DEATH AND RESURRECTION IS WHAT GOT US HERE TODAY…”SHARING HIS GLORIOUS LOVE 💞 AND BLESSINGS… Thanks again to u and Cathy, ….Mr Alfred song still lives on…..”A NEW DAY DAWNING”….

    1. Dale Reichel Post author

      Marlys, thanks much for your note and kind words. I’m glad we can share these lovely old songs … and the handful of newer songs, too. Music is a huge field, and “songs” are a subset. We grew up when it was still fun to learn songs to sing together. I fondly remember many times as a kid learning songs — at school, church, camp and even from one or the other radio station most all of us listened to. Songs attach to memories we can bring back and enjoy together just by singing together. I love how songs are free and portable. We can carry them with us even when pockets or backpacks are full. Modern “personalized” media and related forces have fragmented repertoire, and so reduced the number and quality of songs most people would all know in common and could all share. Through this song site I’m trying to keep at least a candle’s worth of light lit on the joy of sharing and knowing and singing friendly songs with other people. Wishing you all God’s best — your nephew, Dale.


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