Monday, January 03, 2005

Six Undervalued Carols

This article by Diana Macalintal first appeared in Eucharistic Ministries, #249, December 2004.

Christmas choirLet’s face it. Some of our Christmas songs are clichéd, trite and a bit too “sweet.” Yet our musical tradition is full of carols and hymns that, in the words of Environment and Art in Catholic Worship 21, are “capable of bearing the weight of mystery, awe, reverence and wonder which the liturgical action expresses.” Here are some of those songs.

Let All Mortal Flesh Keep Silence
This is probably not listed in the Christmas section of your hymnal, but this 5th century text is an extraordinary image of the Word made Flesh.

Of the Father’s Love Begotten
This simple chant sings of the Incarnation as salvation history.

What Child is This?
The chorus (“This, this is Christ the King”) originally sang of “nails, spear, shall pierce him through, the cross be borne for me, for you.”

Good Christian Friends, Rejoice
This 14th century text answers why Christ was born: that we may no longer fear death.

Hark! The Herald Angels Sing
Find Charles Wesley’s original verses and see the rich Easter theology in the text.

Tomorrow Shall Be My Dancing Day
William Sandys’ 1833 text conveys that Christmas is “merry” because God dances with us even through death.


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