Wednesday, December 24, 2014

 Today everyone will get a half day off from their jobs. It is Christmas Eve.  Take the time to meet some friends and relatives..No matter what or who we believe in, for most of us hopefully it is the beginning of one of the most wonderful couple of days in our year. What could be better that seeing friends and relatives to share a meal and exchange a present? Yes, someone will actually give you something that you don’t have to exchange for money. It is a gift.  Speaking of gifts, our creator gave us the gift to think, the gift of anger. Most of us have not thought before we got angry and then people died. Not so good.

We must take some time to reflect on our many gifts. The gift of us. Our bodies are amazing living things that can do just about anything. If we can’t physically do it, God gave us the gift of an intellect. Someone will make a machine to do the rest for us. Gifts are wonderful. He even did not forget   to give us the gift of our voices, a musical instrument right in the middle of our precious bodies. The gift to sing a song is wonderful. Even if you do not believe in Christ and his miracles, you have heard the many traditional songs sung this time of year. You know the melodies and the lyrics. The problem with the National Anthem is not the song. It is the fact that we don’t get to hear it often enough to remember the words. We don’t even sing along at ball games anymore.

Christmas songs are here to stay along with the people willing to sing them. There are still people who are willing to go door to door singing Christmas Carols. They do not ask for money, they just sing and sing well in 4 part harmony. How are  they different from a barber shop quartet or even now the new acapella singers? Not very different. It is the Christmas songs that make them special. You may think it is a terrible reminder of reunions gone bad during the holidays or you can just enjoy it for what it is for a moment. Better yet, sing with a group of people. It will make your afternoon off from work pass quickly. Carolers usually have other full time jobs and there are hundreds of words and arrangements to memorize.

Caroling originally had nothing to do with Christmas. In the Middle  Ages people would sing door to door to celebrate other holidays even Halloween. By the Victorian Era, the tradition of Carolers given Christmas treats in exchange for singing to their wealthy neighbors was a big tradition. The famous lyric,” so bring us some figgy pudding” was a request of the Carolers for food. Carols are sung all over the world even if they are not sung in the same way. In Greece children go door to door banging triangles. In Australia one version of the song The Twelve Days of Christmas doesn’t begin with a partridge in a pear tree, it begins with a Coo Koo bird in a gum tree.

The 12th day of Christmas for many Christians lands on January 6, also called Three Kings Day. That too is celebrated especially in Latin America. It is the Charles Dickson era of Caroling that we know most. Men dressed in top hats and women in wide skirts singing the favorite songs. There are professional Carolers you can hire to sing dressed all Victorian. Be transfixed by the music and the scene for a moment and let it make you forget life’s problems. Start singing. You might get someone to sing along too. So just like Frosty The Snowman sing and return every day a smile and a tradition. Merry Christmas all. 

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