Okay, okay—it’s not Christmas. But, hey, close enough, right?
There will be an actual Christmas post tomorrow morning, though it’s going to be very short. But I couldn’t pass up the opportunity to turn “Flashback Friday” into “Flashback Friday^2,” angering mathematicians and calendar enthusiasts everywhere.
The original post in this “series,” “Christmas and its Symbols,” contains some excellent Christmas wisdom. So often we hear Christmas denounced as a secretly “pagan” holiday because we hang wreaths, put up trees, and dangle mistletoe. But as one meme I’ve seen recently put it (to paraphrase), “Yes, I love to display the trophies of my vanquished foes.”
Christmas is just six days away! It’s hard to believe, but here we are yet again.
It’s been a great season for Christmas carols, which I’ve enjoyed playing—with gusto. I’ve gotten “Joy to the World” down to a science, it seems. I’ve also been whipping out some of the more obscure gems.
“O Come, All Ye Faithful” – Another rousing, rollicking tune, “O Come, All Ye Faithful” is a Christmas carol that I’ve always enjoyed, but it’s really grown on me this year. It’s fun to play and fun to sing, and the chorus practically begs to be sung lustily.
My school’s big Christmas concert is tomorrow—the first once since December 2019, the infamous “Corporate Christmas” concert—and my Middle School Music class is playing and singing “Hark! The Herald Angels Sing.” It’s one of my favorite carols, and is apparently my pastor’s favorite.
We’re doing the iconic first verse, as well as the third verse, which echoes the themes of the first. There’s a great line—“ris’n with healing in His wings”—that just sounds epic. It’s such a regal tune, perfect for The King of Kings arriving on Earth to save His fallen Creation.
Fortunately, my Middle School students seem to agree, and I am proud of their rendition.
This past Sunday was the first of December, and my first time back at my little church since Thanksgiving. That meant it was time—finally!—to play some Christmas carols.
We started the service with a rousing congregational singing of “Hark! The Herald Angels Sing,” which is apparently my pastor’s favorite carol. Our second congregational singing was “It Came Upon a Midnight Clear,” a beautiful little hymn with some interesting harmonies and leaping melodies—typical of carols.
December is here, and that means it’s time for Christmas music! My students and I are prepping for our annual Christmas concert—back after The Age of The Virus—and have been playing and singing quite a bit of Christmas music.
Indeed, my Music Club—a club designed to get students involved in playing and performing music who, for whatever reason, could not get a music class fit into their schedules—met Tuesday to sing some carols, with the idea being that we will spend lunch and break periods next week caroling for the student body.
The first short week of the new school year is in the books, and assuming I’m still alive when this post pops this morning, I survived!
That’s reason enough to be joyful, but in case my survival of a three-day workweek doesn’t inspire you, here are some more “the joy of” posts of a decidedly musical extraction that might:
“The Joy of Hymnals” (and “TBT: The Joy of Hymnals“) – I love this little post so much, I offer a PDF version of it as a freebie with any purchase of The Lo-Fi Hymnal. I’ve been playing piano at my little country church for a couple of years now, and it’s really given me a newfound respect for the theological and musical qualities of beloved hymns.
One thing I’ve noticed, though, is that churches have taken these classics and, in an attempt to check the “contemporary Christian music” box, added unnecessary and musically-boring codas to them. This past Sunday, my parents’ church’s praise team was leading the congregation in a stirring singing of “O Come, All Ye Faithful“—and then tacked on a needless extra chorus written in a modern style. The additional chorus was okay, but it paled in comparison to the majesty and tunefulness of the carol it amended. The church went from a lusty chorus of socially-distanced congregants to a few people mumbling along to the tuneless new chorus.