Friday, December 25, 2009

christmas day!

hey!!!!! it's christmas day!!!!!!
so a big happy christmas to all of my readers no matter where you are.

i remember one christmas holiday
travelling around with a group of my friends to sing christmas carols.
our goal - fun - pure and simple.
i recall that we had imbibed our fair share of riesling
before we headed out on our noble journey
which only served to enhance the joy
for the singers
if not the listeners.

singing isn't one of my strong points.
so rather than share something
personal but possibly off-putting
i'd like to share with you
three carols sung by people who know what they're doing.

starting with my favourite . . .

next up will be good king wenceslas

the lyrics for this carol are rich with images in my mind
connected to my last christmas in england.

i was eight years old
and staying at a "christian endeavour home"
in saltburn up on the yorkshire coast.

at the time, my dad was three thousand miles away
carving out a life for himself and his shortly to be arriving family.

it snowed while we there
and i recall one journey out into the countryside
that filled my mind with
(what have become)
archetypal images of a magical christmas.

i wish i could put the sensations of that particular day into writing for you,
but the effect of seeing snow,
moorland, waterfalls, rivers,
and the pennines
filled my head and heart
and to this day i can recall and feel
the very same childlike wonder at it all inside me.

and so i'll indulge myself further
by sharing the lyrics of good king wenceslas
with you here .

good king wenceslas looked out, on the feast of stephen,
when the snow lay round about, deep and crisp and even;
brightly shone the moon that night, tho' the frost was cruel,
when a poor man came in sight, gath'ring winter fuel.

"hither, page, and stand by me, if thou know'st it, telling,
yonder peasant, who is he? where and what his dwelling?"
"sire, he lives a good league hence, underneath the mountain;
right against the forest fence, by saint agnes' fountain."

"bring me flesh, and bring me wine, bring me pine logs hither:
thou and I will see him dine, when we bear them thither."
page and monarch, forth they went, forth they went together;
through the rude wind's wild lament and the bitter weather.

"sire, the night is darker now, and the wind blows stronger;
fails my heart, i know not how; i can go no longer."
"mark my footsteps, good my page. tread thou in them boldly
thou shalt find the winter's rage freeze thy blood less coldly."

in his master's steps he trod, where the snow lay dinted;
heat was in the very sod which the saint had printed.
therefore, christian men, be sure, wealth or rank possessing,
ye who now will bless the poor, shall yourselves find blessing.

to learn more about this carol then you can give one of my old posts a read!

and of course last but not least, the holly and the ivy . . .

a very happy christmas to each and every one of you!



Rachel Fenton said...

Merry Christmas, Steven, to you and yours!

Golden West said...

Merry Christmas to you and yours, Steven and all best wished for a new year of much health and happiness!

Barry said...

Merry Christmas Steven. Thank you for those beautiful carols to start our Christmas Morning.

jinksy said...

It's nice to see how many Bloggers still find time to tap out a greeting, even on Christmas Day! Not that we're :)

Jane Moxey said...

Merry Christmas -- lovely carols to start the day! Thank you. I've been digging on youtube for "proper" English carols. There's something about the music of an English Christmas, no matter how long it is that one has been in the UK. All best wishes for a lovely 2010, too.

Joanna said...

Oh Steven, thank you for these lovely carols. What a treat to hear the sweet boy soprano voices and see their earnest faces. I enjoyed reading your memories of the Yorkshire Christmas. I've never been to Great Britain but still feel connected to it because three of my four grandparents came from there. Your blog entry today was a sweet gift. Merry Christmas to you and your family.

Jenny Stevning said...

Merry Christmas, Steven!! Last night I went to a midnight mass at the Episcopal Church down the street. It was beautiful. We heard 2 of these 3 songs.
Have a wonderful day with your family!

Reya Mellicker said...

Excellent carols! I bet you're a better singer than you think you are. Anyway I believe in singing even for those of us who don't have perfect pitch.

Happy Christmas and onwards and upwards!! xx

Lori Witzel said...

Hi Steven -- merry merry to all y'all!