Wednesday, 5 December 2012

Sentimental or sacramental?

Just when you think you're getting into the swing of Advent and all the mini rituals it can bring, life crashes in and you're off the rails before you know it. Busy Tuesday today: at work unusually, acupuncture on the NHS (is this possible anywhere outside of Hackney I wonder?), Advent Adventures at Clapton Park church with the Mandolin Men (think candle lit carol singing with toddlers without the colleting of money bit) and suddenly I find that the kids are home, in bed, and neither of our two advent 'calendars' have been opened. And what's worse him indoors has gone and left me so I can't even join R for the setting of a star in a tree tonight. 

Nevertheless tonight is the night for getting our Christmas song book sorted. It's a long story but chiefly emanates from the Danish mother-in-law and a tradition going back through her Viking roots of singing round the Christmas tree. There's usually alcohol involved and if you're going to be serious you also have to dance around the tree while you sing. Seeing as there are also (real) candles dangling on the tree branches and often small children to contend with, in a space most people would not even dream of having a 7 foot Nordic Spruce in, I look upon it not as an annual ritual so much as a chance to exercise faith in an interventionalist God.

But if you're gonna sing you have to have some words otherwise everyone just peters out after the first 2 lines. So a selection of songs have been shared, peppered with pictures from Christmases past, and I am trying to choose a few of them to print for this year's jollities. It was all going just fine until I came across 'Oh Holy Night' which is perhaps my most favorite hymn of all time. The tune is tricky though and I couldn't work out how to scan the words. A quick google later and suddenly I am singing my heart out, tears dribbling down my face, in front of a You Tube clip which has been watched at some point by another 8 million people. You have to check it out Though they are a bit virginal and misty in their floaty white gear and blond locks 'Celtic Woman' have beautifully clear voices and the minimal tampering with the setting is a joy (and beats both Celine Dione's and Mariah Carey's version by about a zillion miles!). I am never quite sure why those tears come. Maybe it's from the memories of Ali loving that song too, or of Becca singing it exquisitely in candlelit Christmas moments, or of a previous life in which I danced to a French version of it. But maybe it's also something deep in my soul connecting with the words and the enormity of the meaning of that 'divine night'. Whichever it is, I do love that song. 

And I do love star number four too. Thanks for the pic Rach! (Anyone got any spare milk cartons??)

1 comment:

  1. its the 'fall on your knees' bit that gets me every time x