Sunday, November 28, 2010
Mark My Footsteps!
We're already digging around in the garage loft for our Christmas decoration and lights, such as they are. We don't light the lights until Christmas Day, but they get dusty up there. Advent is about preparation.
What songs shall the grade school kids sing for the Christmas recital? What projects with construction paper and paste shall we make with the kindergartners and first graders?
I am besides myself with glee, as usual.
I think I'm going to teach them Handel's Hallelujah Chorus and have everyone sing along. They do that out here at the Hollywood Bowl every year. I've never gone. I suppose I should try to go and sit in the nose bleed seats (which are fantastically inexpensive) and take notes.
And I think this year we'll make a study of Christmas songs. They have such an influence over the season. Rudolph was invented in a Christmas song. We love the Little Drummer Boy, but he certainly is not found in the New Testament. Silent Night was written by a priest.
What's your favorite Christmas song? I have ten or twenty favorites. I have a few that don't exactly float my boat, either. Not a big fan of "We Three Kings", love "O Come All Ye Faithful".
I truly love "Good King Wenceslaus". What a great story! What great imagery! "When the snow lay round about, deep and crisp and even." Beautiful! Can't you just see it? Wencelaus and his aide go trudging out on a freezing ("the frost was cruel") night because the King has spotted a poor man feebly gathering sticks to burn. Wencelaus orders up meat and wine and logs for fuel to take to the poor man. Out they go. Wenceslaus barrels ahead while the aide struggles to keep up. Finally he informs his master that he is freezing and can't go another step. The King tells his aide to "mark my footsteps my dear page, tread thou in them boldly, you will find the winter's rage, freeze the blood less coldly."
Clumsy, I know. But the aide does as the King says and finds that the footsteps of Wenceslaus are indeed heated.
What a great story! Such a happy tune!
Good King Wenceslaus was a real person who became known as the the champion of the wretched because of his kindness to the poor. He was really the Duke of Bohemia who was raised by his dear old grandma. He brought his country to Christianity.
Unfortunately, he came to a bad end in 929 AD or so, when he was murdered by his brother and a band of pagans. Oh, well.
Welcome to Advent everyone! Prepare ye the way!