Wednesday, December 12, 2007

I love the Advent season. The tree and lights are up. The advent wreath is on the table and we say a little prayer and light the appropriate candles each night. I’ve pulled out my Christmas CDs and have been enjoying the music.

My favorites are the traditional Christmas carols. I have a couple CDs that feature arrangements and direction by John Rutter. The choir is amazing and the arrangements are beautiful. The songs remind me of singing carols in church as a child. Songs by Rutter were common both in the children’s hymnal we used at the Lutheran parochial school I attended and in the Congregational church Mom and I went to.

I popped one of the CD’s into the car radio. Peanut listened for a minute then asked “Is that Mr. Bean music?” I cracked up. We gave him the Mr. Bean TV series on DVD for his birthday, and one of the episodes features Mr. Bean in church, singing a traditional (but not Christmas) hymn – in fact one I recognized from my own childhood churchgoing days. Smart boy.

One of my favorite Christmas hymns is “In the Bleak Midwinter”.
words by Christina Rossetti, 1872
1. In the bleak midwinter, 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 midwinter, long ago.

2. Our God, heaven cannot hold Him, nor earth sustain;
Heaven and earth shall flee away when He comes to reign.
In the bleak midwinter a stable place sufficed
The Lord God Almighty, Jesus Christ.

3. Enough for Him, Whom cherubim, worship night and day,
Breastful of milk, and a mangerful of hay;
Enough for Him, Whom angels fall before,
The ox and ass and camel which adore.

4. Angels and archangels may have gathered there,
Cherubim and seraphim thronged the air;
But His mother only, in her maiden bliss,
Worshipped the beloved with a kiss.

5. 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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