Music and the Coming of Christmas

Well, here it is the first day of December, and with just a few blinks of the eyes and an occasional nod of the head, the holy day of Christmas will be here. Christmas! It definitely is my favorite holiday; its meaning so profound, its celebration so easy, its joy so encompassing. For Christmas is to celebrate the birthday of our Saviour, of Jesus. And in so doing, we gather ourselves in a special season of love with our families, with friends, and even with strangers. Perhaps we become more liberal, more caring, more open. We smile…and we sing.

“For unto us a child is born, unto us a son is given: and the government shall be upon his shoulder: and his name shall be called Wonderful, Counsellor, The mighty God, The everlasting Father, The Prince of Peace.” Isaiah 9:6

Music is one of the most powerful forces on earth, and certainly during this season we are inundated with beautifully executed exuberant and anointed music–both instrumental and vocal. Ranging from sanctuary choirs, to children’s groups, to both trained and amateur singers and instrumentalists, the Christmas season is popped with music. It’s wonderful! We walk the malls to the resonance of lilting music, our radios and CD players are tuned to incredible soaring sounds of Christmas.

I’m much a traditionalist, I suppose, and although there are many modern pieces I do like, some of my favorite Christmas music consists of carols I learned in my childhood. I’m bringing you one today…this first day of December.

And you? I’d like to know. Do you have favorite Christmas music? Modern? Traditional? Favorite singer or instrumentalist? I’d sure like to hear about it.

Is that not awesome? What a night long ago in Bethlehem…on that incredible angel-studded evening which was to change the world forever, God came to earth as a baby…and Mary laid Him in a manger…Mary, His mother…did she know?

______________

O Holy Night
The words and lyrics of the old carol ‘O Holy Night’ were written by Placide Cappeau de Roquemaure in 1847. Cappeau was a wine seller by trade but was asked by the parish priest to write a poem for Christmas. He obliged and wrote the beautiful words of the hymn. He then realised that it should have music to accompany the words and he approached his friend Adolphe Charles Adams(1803-1856). He agreed and the music for the poem was therefore composed by Adolphe Charles Adams. Adolphe had attended the Paris conservatoire and forged a brilliant career as a composer. It was translated into English by John Sullivan Dwight (1812-1893).


7 thoughts on “Music and the Coming of Christmas

  1. renaissanceguy

    I love so many Christmas songs.

    “In the Bleak Midwinter” is probably my favorite because it is so intimate and personal.

    In the bleak mid-winter
    Frosty wind made moan,
    Earth stood hard as iron,
    Water like a stone;
    Snow had fallen, snow on snow,
    Snow on snow,
    In the bleak mid-winter
    Long ago.

    Our God, Heaven cannot hold Him
    Nor earth sustain;
    Heaven and earth shall flee away
    When He comes to reign:
    In the bleak mid-winter
    A stable-place sufficed
    The Lord God Almighty,
    Jesus Christ.

    Enough for Him, whom cherubim
    Worship night and day,
    A breastful of milk
    And a mangerful of hay;
    Enough for Him, whom angels
    Fall down before,
    The ox and ass and camel
    Which adore.

    Angels and archangels
    May have gathered there,
    Cherubim and seraphim
    Thronged the air,
    But only His mother1
    In her maiden bliss,
    Worshipped the Beloved
    With a kiss.

    What can I give Him,
    Poor as I am?
    If I were a shepherd
    I would bring a lamb,
    If I were a wise man
    I would do my part,
    Yet what I can I give Him,
    Give my heart.

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  2. Wow, Greg! Congratulations to you and Belinda on the new baby. What exciting times are in store for you. I was 34 and Jerry was 39 when Andrew, our youngest, was born. Andrew’s a wonderful young man with 5 children of his own now–has more than either of his siblings. He’s a pastor in the San Diego area. I’ll be eager to hear how Belinda’s pregnancy goes. Sure everything will be fine.

    The incarnation truly amazes me, and to consider how Mary felt and how much she could possibly understand…mind-boggling. What a wonderful event for us to celebrate. It was indeed a Holy Night.

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  3. Greg the Explorer

    Shirley I absolutely love O Holy Night -it is my number one all time favourite Christmas Carol. I also love your Christmas theme.

    Shirley…..guess what?

    My wife is pregnant!!! I’m 44 and I’m going to be a dad again!! We went for our first ultrasound yesterday and it was just like the first time seeing that tiny little blob that will one day soon venture to into the world to be cared for and loved.

    How would Mary have felt if she cold have seen into her own womb I wonder?

    Needless to say Belinda and I are as excited as any couple expecting a baby could be.

    Like

  4. dean

    Silent Night, Holy Night….. is right up there in my book. I can’t hear it and be unmoved. I love this time of year. God Bless Us, Everyone!!

    Definitely a classic, enduring, beautiful carol of Christmas. Love you all.

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  5. “O Holy Night” ranks in my top 10, but I could never narrow it down.

    I was humming “Down From His Glory” this morning – probably not found on any Christmas album, but “the great Creator became my Savior!” was ringing in my heart.

    Then there is Martha Munizzi’s “White Christmas” with the lyrics “though my sins were red as crimson, now they’re white as snow… all because of Jesus, it’s gonna be a white Christmas…”

    2000 years ago is was, and today it is, a joyous time!

    Thank you, Kathy. Love your last sentence; “…it was…today, it is…”

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  6. Dave Gray

    Shirley, my favorite carol is Charles Wesley’s “Hark the Herald Angles Sing”. The verses are amazing;

    Hark the herald angels sing
    “Glory to the newborn King!
    Peace on earth and mercy mild
    God and sinners reconciled”
    Joyful, all ye nations rise
    Join the triumph of the skies
    With the angelic host proclaim:
    “Christ is born in Bethlehem”
    Hark! The herald angels sing
    “Glory to the newborn King!”

    Christ by highest heav’n adored
    Christ the everlasting Lord!
    Late in time behold Him come
    Offspring of a Virgin’s womb
    Veiled in flesh the Godhead see
    Hail the incarnate Deity
    Pleased as man with man to dwell
    Jesus, our Emmanuel
    Hark! The herald angels sing
    “Glory to the newborn King!”

    Hail the heav’n-born Prince of Peace!
    Hail the Son of Righteousness!
    Light and life to all He brings
    Ris’n with healing in His wings
    Mild He lays His glory by
    Born that man no more may die
    Born to raise the sons of earth
    Born to give them second birth
    Hark! The herald angels sing
    “Glory to the newborn King!”

    Thank you, David. You’re right; the words to these verses are striking.

    Like

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