Shirley Erena Murray MNZM (née Cockroft, 31 March 1931 - 25 January 2020) was a New Zealand hymn lyrics writer. Her hymns have been translated into numerous languages and are represented in more than 140 hymn collections.
Born in Invercargill and raised a Methodist, she was educated at Southland Girls' High School, and earned a Master of Arts degree with honours in classics and French from the University of Otago. She later worked as a teacher and researcher.
After marrying Presbyterian minister John Murray in 1954, she eventually moved to Raumati Beach, Wellington, where John was minister for the St Andrew's on the Terrace from 1975 to 1993. Her hymn writing started in the 1970s and often used the congregation of St Andrew's as a testing place for the hymns. Many different composers have put music to her hymn texts.
Among her most known hymns are "Hymn for Anzac Day", "Where Mountains Rise to Open Skies", "Our life has its Seasons", "Star Child" and "Upside Down Christmas".
Sing of the gold and the green and the sparkle,
water and river and lure of the beach.
Sing in the happiness of open spaces,
sing a nativity summer can reach!
Shepherds and musterers move over hillsides,
finding, not angels, but sheep to be shorn,
wise ones make journeys, whatever the season,
searching for signs of the truth to be born.
Right side up Christmas belongs to the universe,
made in the moment a woman gives birth:
hope is the Jesus gift, love is the offering,
everywhere, anywhere, here on the earth.
Carol our Christmas, an upside down Christmas:
snow is not falling and trees are not bare.
Carol the summer and welcome the Christ Child,
warm in our sunshine and sweetness of air.