Sunday, December 23, 2007

And wild and sweet the words repeat...

"I heard the bells on Christmas Day. Their old familiar carols play. And wild and sweet the words repeat. Of peace on earth goodwill to men." -Henry Wadsworth Longfellow

Yesterday I heard "Oh Holy Night" on the radio and was immediately transported back to a Sunday afternoon in late December, over 45 years ago.

Every adult parishioner, each student from the school (grades K -8), all members of the elementary and high school choirs, gathered for a program of traditional and sacred music.

Jimmy Maguire sang a solo in his soaring Irish tenor; the senior choir contributed a cappella Latin hymns; the entire congregation thundered forth "Joy to the World".

We walked home in the deepening evening to sip hot chocolate and dream beside the Christmas tree.

My beliefs have matured, possibly; changed, certainly. The music has stayed with me as a continuing comfort and delight.

"Adeste fideles, laetit triumphants, venite, venite in Bethlehem!" -Adeste Fideles (Oh Come, All Ye Faithful)

"You are the music while the music lasts." -T. S. Eliot


Cathy Jo Nelson said...

Singing is the absolute best way to Worship Him. No matter wht you sing, be it Christmas songs, contemporary selections, or Rock and Roll. It is a form of happiness. I remember always sitting around with family (remember mine is BIG) singing carols every Christmas too. It's sad that we do not do this anymore. But it is also a favorite and cherished memory. Maybe I'll encourage those of us at Mom's Christmas Day to sing some once again--and maybe video a little of it.

diane said...


There are no recordings (that I know of)which preserve these musical programs. They live on in my memory as sweet and pure and without blemish.