bringing good cheer

14 12 2010

The song I shared yesterday, “All My Heart This Night Rejoices” gives the reason behind the season: the incarnation and its impact in our lives.  This is nothing less than the beginning of the new creation through the birth of a little baby.

Today’s song is also about newness, heralding bounty and fullness.  Originally, the Ukrainian lyrics to Shchedryk were a New Year’s carol telling of swallow announcing to a family the bounty that the would receive throughout the coming year.  However, the 1936 English lyrics for the Carol of the Bells were not a translation of the Ukrainian, but a new Christmas song.  They’ve remained popular for good reason: “Christmas is hear, bringing good cheer!

Hark how the bells,
sweet silver bells,
all seem to say,
throw cares away

Christmas is here,
bringing good cheer,
to young and old,
meek and the bold,

Ding dong ding dong
that is their song
with joyful ring
all caroling

One seems to hear
words of good cheer
from everywhere
filling the air

Oh how they pound,
raising the sound,
o’er hill and dale,
telling their tale,

Gaily they ring
while people sing
songs of good cheer,
Christmas is here,

Merry, merry, merry, merry Christmas,
Merry, merry, merry, merry Christmas,
On on they send,
on without end,
their joyful tone
to every home

Ding dong ding… dong!

I’m on lunch-break in Starbuck, listening to “Angels we have heard on high” played over their radio.  The “Carol of the Bell” is true: Christmas still is a time when words of good cheer fill the air everywhere.  When else do you hear Jesus’ birth proclaimed in so many public places in our modern, pluralistic liberal democracies?  Though many many not know the real Christmas story or its significance today, we still experience residual blessings from the widespread belief in the good news about Jesus Christ that many in western nations have held.  With the birth of Jesus, God became human, forever establishing the individual dignity of every person.  His life made clear that women and men have equal value–laying the theological groundwork for much of our western understanding of human rights today.  Now the radio singer is proclaiming tidings of comfort and joy, with the verses telling the tale of Jesus’ birth announced by angels to shepherds.

Merry, merry, merry, merry Christmas!


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