The tenth day of Christmas 2015

On the tenth day of Christmas this year we went to MASS.

Having taken a day to relax yesterday, today we got down to business and did the jobs we had planned to do. They weren’t big tasks but just little things to improve our surroundings at home.

When that was done, we went to Mass. We celebrated the Feast of Epiphany. Epiphany actually falls on January 6th (and is the culmination day of #blog12daysxmas). It’s a common thing these days in the Church to shift feast days to the nearest weekend. It’s almost anticlimactic when the actual feast day rolls around.

From my perspective as a church organist, I love this feast. I love being rostered to play the organ and sing. One of my favourite carols is sung on this day: We Three Kings. I have a version I’ve been playing for as long as I’ve been playing keyboard instruments (i.e. since I was 7 years old). It was published in 1972 by Woman’s Day. Nowadays, they have little supplements which are usually recipe books or some craft thing. Back then they must’ve had a whole range of supplements to the magazine. That booklet is older than I am. It is actually my mother’s but I commandeered it at a young age (as I did with a lot of Mum’s music books). Actually, she has three Woman’s Day Christmas Songbooks. I think there were two from 1972 and one from 1974. I love those little books so much!

The sad part is that this year I couldn’t find that version! I had to play from one which didn’t have the counterpoint which so beautifully complements the melody line. The chords left a lot to be desired as well. Nevertheless, I played We Three Kings and I loved it.

Epiphany is the last day of the Christmas season so I like to go out with a nice caroly bang. I play as many carols referencing the magi as I can (making sure, of course, to reflect the message of the readings). The First Noel: “And by the light of that same star
Three wise men came from the country far“. O Holy Night: “So led by light of a star sweetly gleaming, Here came the wise men from Orient land”. What Child Is This: “So bring him incense, gold, and myrrh…” These are my Epiphany carols.

I think sometimes that people forget to listen to the lyrics of the hymns they sing. This is even more the case at Christmas time. While at a shopping centre just before Christmas I had a moment where I could really listen to the piped music. It was some breathy ingenue singing What Child Is This. She sang it with the same intonation, timbre or intent as if it were a seductive love song. The more I heard the more I was disgusted, confused and offended. When she sang “the babe, the son of Mary” it was weird. Particularly, the word “babe”. It was as if she only knew the meaning of “babe” as some sexy thing. In reality, it was referring to the infant Christ. A newborn!

I’ve really rambled on quite a bit here but I just let my mind run on. I guess what I’m trying to say is…lyrics need to be read and understood before you sing them. Sing them with all your heart and mean them. There’s a gift fit for a King.

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