Christmas Music: Songs from Ireland

Yesterdays’ post of songs from Spain, Catalonia, and Mexico gave me an idea to highlight beloved Christmas songs that come from different countries. Today we have two carols from Ireland. This year, while clicking backwards on my FamilySearch.org profile, I discovered that my family has Irish ancestors — ancestors that escaped the potato famine of the 1840s no less. I have some reading and study to do for 2019 to learn more about Ireland.

Don Oiche Ud I mBeithil by the Chieftains featuring Burgess Meredith. Yes, that Burgess Meredith, the Penguin from the 1960s Batman TV show, and of course The Chieftains are a great traditional Irish folk music band. But I love this song because of the narration in English, and then the song following in Gaelic. It tells the story of Christmas with beautiful simplicity.

I sing of a night in Bethlehem
A night as bright as dawn
I sing of that night in Bethlehem
The night the Word was born
The skies are glowing gaily
The earth in white is dressed
See Jesus in the cradle
Drink deep in His mother’s breast
And there on a lonely hillside
The shepherds bow down in fear
When the heavens open brightly
And God’s message rings out so clear
Glory now to the Father
In all the heavens high
And peace to His friends on earth below
Is all the angels cry

The Wexford Carol by Alison Krauss feat. Yo-yo Ma on the cello. This song originated in the 12th Century in County Wexford from the town of Enniscorthy. Traditionally it’s sung by men, but in the last few years, women have begun to sing and record it. I love the invitation that the first phrase extends, “Good people all, this Christmas time, consider well, and bear in mind what our good God, for us hath done, in sending His beloved Son.” Consider the good God has done for us, in sending Jesus Christ.

Christmas Music: Songs from Spain, Catalonia, and Mexico

My friend Monsterrat Wadsworth over at Cranial Hiccups asked if I’d heard the Catalonian song, “Fum, Fum, Fum”. And of course I had. It’s a fun song, I remember it being sung in our choir concerts growing up. The “fum” imitates the sound of the drums, and by the end everyone is singing fortissimo. But as I was searching for a good version of the song. I went down a happy rabbit hole of Spanish language Christmas songs, and I was reminded how much I love the Songs from Spain and other Spanish speaking countries and areas — these songs definitely need more air time, because lets face it, you’re also going to go crazy if you hear “Silver Bells” or “White Christmas” one more time. Here are five songs from Spain, Catalonia, and Mexico.

Fum Fum Fum — sung in Catalan.

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Thoughts about #Exvangelicals

Image from the 12/01/2018 CBS special “Deconstructing my Religion”

On Saturday CBS aired “Deconstructing my Religion,” a special on the #Exvangelical movement. Exvangelicals are a set of diverse folks who have left Evangelical Christianity and wish to highlight the problems with that particular culture. 1 Because it is easy to misread Exvangelical as Evangelical, I will refer to former Evangelicals as Xvangelicals in this post.

It was an interesting watch for me, since members of the Church of Jesus Christ have had their own struggle with former members of the faith who have raised strikingly similar critiques. Perhaps because of the similarities, it was obvious to this viewer that CBS’s focus on Xvangelicals was because Evangelical Christians are reportedly the only religious community where Donald Trump is still supported by a majority of adherents.

For better or worse, former members of the Church of Jesus Christ can’t accuse members as a group of embracing President Trump with uncritical enthusiasm.

The culture associated with the Church of Jesus Christ resembles Evangelical Christianity in many ways, but there are key differences. Continue reading

Notes:

  1. CBS has an app where you can view past broadcasts, which is where I saw this show.

Christmas Music: Have You Heard the Story of the Jesus Child?

In the fall of 1988, I was a sophomore in high school. Our choir director, Mr. David Perry, pulled out the Christmas music, and introduced the sophomore choir to a song that was to become one of my favorite Christmas songs of all time, John Rutter’s, “Jesus Child”. It’s an exciting song with a calypso beat. I’ve always imagined the song being a group of friends telling each other about the birth of Christ and as the more people know the story, their joy and excitement for Christ grows.

Here are the lyrics:
Have you heard the story that they’re telling ’bout Bethlehem,
Have you heard the story of the Jesus child?
How he came from heaven and was born in a manger bed?
Mary was his virgin mother pure and mild.

Sing alleluia, brothers, sing alleluja, sisters,
Worship the Jesus child and praise his mother mild.
‘Glory to God’ the angel hosts are singing:
Listen to the story of the Jesus child. Continue reading

Christmas Music: O Come O Come Emmanuel

We learn one of the names of Jesus Christ in Matthew 1: 23, “Behold, a virgin shall be with child, and shall bring forth a son, and they shall call his name Emmanuel, which being interpreted is, God with us.”

In Genesis the Lord speaks to us about His own coming — in other words being our Emmanuel, “And, behold, I am with thee, and will keep thee in all places whither thou goest, and will bring thee again into this land; for I will not leave thee, until I have done that which I have spoken to thee of.”

This promise is repeated in Leviticus 26: 11-12, “Moreover, I will make My dwelling among you, and My soul will not reject you. ‘I will also walk among you and be your God, and you shall be My people.”

I love the fact that God came and was with us, and that He will be with us again one day. Continue reading