Monday, December 1, 2014

The Sound of Christmas

Somebody left the happy door open.  Now that Thanksgiving is over, we have gone full speed ahead with the sounds of Christmas.  You've heard these tunes flowing for a while, in the elevators, those endless Black Friday lines last week and not to mention the sneak peek we heard six weeks ago with the sale of all things scary lurking on our shelves.

The sounds of Christmas are everywhere.

I made a confession on Facebook before Thanksgiving that I was listening to Christmas music and I found a comfy community of eager beaver early believers in support of listening to Christmas music anytime they wanted.  Why....even some admitted to a all-year addiction!

Why is that Christmas music lands so happy in our hearts?  It certainly brings more jingle to our chatter.

It's like the jolly 'ole switch of holiday cheer has been cranked to eleven.  Christmas caroling events are springing up glad tidings in churches on every corner!  Who's in charge of making the hot chocolate and Christmas cut-out cookies this year?  Bring on the snow please!

Nothing more romantic than the picturesque Thomas Kincaid snow covered cottage with carolers singing brightly in the night.  Why are we in such a hurry to sing Christmas?  Better yet, why are we in such a hurry?  Are we singing joy for the simplicity of the season or to seek joy and return joy?

How does one find joy found in songs?

The joy of Christmas is not related to lyrics necessarily.  The favorites are certainly sung many times over with carol after carol and with hymn after hymn.  Without feeling and emotion the words can certainly leave us flat.  Ever catch yourself just singing Christmas because it's the thing to do?

So who really started this whole singing Christmas business?

Carols were first sung in Europe thousands of years ago, but they weren't the Christmas classics we hear today.  They were pagan songs, sung at the Winter Solstice celebrations as people danced round stone circles.  The Winter Solstice is the shortest day of the year, usually taking place around the 22nd December. The word Carol actually means dance or a song of praise and joy!

Carols used to be written and sung during all four seasons, but only the tradition of singing them at Christmas has really survived.

Early Christians took over the pagan solstice celebrations for Christmas and gave people Christian songs to sing instead of pagan ones. In AD 129, a Roman Bishop said that a song called "Angel's Hymn" should be sung at a Christmas service in Rome. However, not many people liked them as they were all written and sung in Latin, a language that the normal people couldn't pronounce.  Singing "cantaloupe" and "watermelon" to the tune of Silent Night had to get old fast, especially in Latin.

This was changed by St. Francis of Assisi when, in 1223, he started his plays of the nativity scenes in Italy.  The people in the plays sang songs or 'canticles' that told the story during the plays. The resurgence of these songs brought them back to a language that the people watching the play could understand and join in! The new carols spread to France, Spain, Germany and other European countries.

Before carol singing in public became popular, there were sometimes official carol singers called 'Waits'. These were bands of people led by important local leaders, some even charged money to listen to them!  They were called 'Waits' because they only sang on Christmas Eve, coming from the term 'watchnight' or 'waitnight' because of the shepherds were watching their sheep when the angels appeared to them.  

The angelic chorus on that dark hillside was the official language of joy from Heaven to earth. Oh to hear Heaven's release of perfect harmony on mankind with the joy resounding a heavenly crescendo!  

One of the most popular types of Carols services are the candlelight services. The church is only lit by candlelight and it feels very Christmassy! Singing of the joy of Jesus by candlelight brings all kinds of joy and light!

When I sing about the care that our Good Shepherd has for us that brings me joy.  

A newborn requires much attention with lots of planning, preparing and making of room in our lives. Much care is needed once the baby arrives.  So much joy is given when we mothers dream about what our children will become.  Think about the joy we can give back to God.  He already sees our future before we do and He knits our inmost parts by with His image.  His image bears His fruit and joy is a part of that fruit.  

It brings joy to my heart to know that He dreams of me and for me.  What joy we bring to Him when we give the joy He bears in our lives.

I like that He cares about my joy far in advance and leads me to follow Him in His well-designed steps that He has filled with joy.

My Christmas Classic:  "In Your Care" 

"Sleep Mary sleep I will be there soon
Entering earth through your precious womb
My child oh My mother of earth
Give Me the gift of birth

Sleep Joseph sleep may you dream of love
And peace to the earth through your
Newborn Son
Oh raise Me with honor and pride
I will stand by your side

And I'll be in your care
Safely harbored there
My heavenly host will follow Me close
But always remember, please be aware
I will be in your care

Now Israel oh My chosen one
The prophets foretold that this day
Would come
I pray you will know I'm your King
Salvation is what I bring

Care for Me and shelter Me in childhood
Knowing that someday Ill have to go
And though it may seem hopeless,
When I'm hanging on the tree
You can know for certain Ill return
But, until then oh, oh

You'll be in My care
Safely harbored there
My heavenly host will follow you close
But always remember, please be aware
You will be in My care
You'll be in My care,
You will be, you'll be in, you'll be in My care
Yes, you will, you will be
You will be, you'll be in, you'll be in My care"

Songwriters: HARRIS, MARK R. / SIMON, BILLY ; recorded by 4HIM
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