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Happy Thanksgiving

By Tim Butler | Posted at 1:42

I have far more to be thankful for than I deserve, though too often I don't reflect enough on that. Just this very day has been a day with much for me to thank God for.

Blessings to all of you on Thanksgiving!

Happy Fourth!

By Tim Butler | Posted at 0:47

I hope everyone had a good time filled with fireworks!

Happy Easter!

By Tim Butler | Posted at 22:57

He is risen!

I hope all of you had a great Easter.

Happy Epiphany!

By Tim Butler | Posted at 0:03

Well, given the day, my subject of posting seems quite obvious given that I've been lingering with Christmas carols for the past few weeks. With the usual disclaimers of accuracy, let's bring on “We Three Kings” to wrap up the festival of carols. Just for Ed, I'll include the whole thing, too. :-)

Happy Epiphany, and, once more for this season, Merry Christmas!

We three kings of Orient are
Bearing gifts we traverse afar
Field and fountain, moor and mountain
Following yonder star

O Star of wonder, star of night
Star with royal beauty bright
Westward leading, still proceeding
Guide us to thy Perfect Light

Born a King on Bethlehem's plain
Gold I bring to crown Him again
King forever, ceasing never
Over us all to rein

O Star of wonder, star of night
Star with royal beauty bright
Westward leading, still proceeding
Guide us to Thy perfect light

Frankincense to offer have I
Incense owns a Deity nigh
Pray'r and praising, all men raising
Worship Him, God most high

O Star of wonder, star of night
Star with royal beauty bright
Westward leading, still proceeding
Guide us to Thy perfect light

Myrrh is mine, its bitter perfume
Breathes of life of gathering gloom
Sorrowing, sighing, bleeding, dying
Sealed in the stone-cold tomb

O Star of wonder, star of night
Star with royal beauty bright
Westward leading, still proceeding
Guide us to Thy perfect light

Glorious now behold Him arise
King and God and Sacrifice
Alleluia, Alleluia
Earth to heav'n replies

O Star of wonder, star of night
Star with royal beauty bright
Westward leading, still proceeding
Guide us to Thy perfect light

The Twelve Days of Christmas (Day 12/Twelfth Night)

By Tim Butler | Posted at 23:42

A great while ago the world begun,
With hey, ho, the wind and the rain;
But that's all one, our play is done,
And we'll strive to please you every day.

—Feste the Fool (William Shakespeare, Twelfth Night)

Well today is Twefth Night, a day we do not usually celebrate in America (or at least, not that I've noticed), but perhaps we should. At any rate, a quote from the Bard's play concerning this night seemed appropriate. Better yet, it fits nicely as we wrap up my twelve days of carols via a quote from perhaps the greatest fictional person ever to wear motley. Do with it “what you will.”

So, on to the carol, “the Twelve Days of Christmas.” Do you love it? Hate it? What do you make of it? A lot of people have tried to explain its symbolism, but usually those explanations are found sadly to be false. Alternately, if you want, feel free to post what your true love gave to you for Christmas (hopefully it didn't include pipers piping and a bunch of partridges). ;)

1.
On the first day of Christmas,
My true love sent to me1
A partridge in a pear tree.

2.
On the second day of Christmas,
My true love sent to me
Two turtle-doves and
A partridge in a pear tree.

3.
On the third day of Christmas,
My true love sent to me
Three French hens,
Two turtle-doves and
A partridge in a pear tree.

4.
On the fourth day of Christmas,
My true love sent to me
Four colley birds,1a
Three French hens,
Two turtle-doves and
A partridge in a pear tree.

5.
On the fifth day of Christmas,
My true love sent to me
Five golden rings.
Four colley birds,
Three French hens,
Two turtle-doves and
A partridge in a pear tree.

6.
On the sixth day of Christmas,
My true love sent to me
Six geese a-laying,
Five golden rings.
Four colley birds,
Three French hens,
Two turtle-doves and
A partridge in a pear tree.

7.
On the seventh day of Christmas,
My true love sent to me
Seven swans a-swimming,
Six geese a-laying,
Five golden rings.
Four colley birds,
Three French hens,
Two turtle-doves and
A partridge in a pear tree.

8.
On the eighth day of Christmas,
My true love sent to me
Eight maids a-milking,
Seven swans a-swimming,
Six geese a-laying,
Five golden rings.
Four colley birds,
Three French hens,
Two turtle-doves and
A partridge in a pear tree.

9.
On the ninth day of Christmas,
My true love sent to me
Nine drummers drumming,
Eight maids a-milking,
Seven swans a-swimming,
Six geese a-laying,
Five golden rings.
Four colley birds,
Three French hens,
Two turtle-doves and
A partridge in a pear tree.

10.
On the tenth day of Christmas,
My true love sent to me
Ten pipers piping,
Nine drummers drumming,
Eight maids a-milking,
Seven swans a-swimming,
Six geese a-laying,
Five golden rings.
Four colley birds,
Three French hens,
Two turtle-doves and
A partridge in a pear tree.

11.
On the eleventh day of Christmas,
My true love sent to me
Eleven ladies dancing,
Ten pipers piping,
Nine drummers drumming,
Eight maids a-milking,
Seven swans a-swimming,
Six geese a-laying,
Five golden rings.
Four colley birds,
Three French hens,
Two turtle-doves and
A partridge in a pear tree.

12.
On the twelfth day of Christmas,
My true love sent to me
Twelve lords a-leaping,
Eleven ladies dancing,
Ten pipers piping,
Nine drummers drumming,
Eight maids a-milking,
Seven swans a-swimming,
Six geese a-laying,
Five golden rings.
Four colley birds,
Three French hens,
Two turtle-doves and
A partridge in a pear tree.

I Heard the Bells on Christmas Day (Day 11)

By Tim Butler | Posted at 1:49

On the eleventh day of Christmas, I bring you another favorite carol related, incidentally, to bells. This one is poignant and somewhat unusual in its focus on the fallen world while still keeping the original Christmas in the picture. It seems like many of the Christmas songs that talk about peace really have no grounding in Christmas and could just as easily have been written for some other time of the year. This one, however, does not fall into that trap. In a way, the song reflects the “already-not yet” tension of Christianity, and, again, the whole sense of yearning for restoration.

To it, it seems appropriate to say, “Amen. Come, Lord Jesus.”

I heard the bells on Christmas day
Their old familiar carols play,
And wild and sweet the words repeat
Of peace on earth, good will to men.

And thought how, as the day had come,
The belfries of all Christendom
Had rolled along the unbroken song
Of peace on earth, good will to men.

Till ringing, singing on its way
The world revolved from night to day,
A voice, a chime, a chant sublime
Of peace on earth, good will to men.

And in despair I bowed my head
“There is no peace on earth,” I said,
“For hate is strong and mocks the song
Of peace on earth, good will to men.”

Then pealed the bells more loud and deep:
“God is not dead, nor doth He sleep;
The wrong shall fail, the right prevail
With peace on earth, good will to men.”

Sing We Now of Christmas (Day 10)

By Tim Butler | Posted at 23:54

This song catches my fancy every so often, and I was listening to the version of it that belongs to part of a medley on Michael W. Smith's Christmastime CD the other day, so I thought I would include it. It seems like one of the better carols for a choir — lots of interesting possibilities to be followed in such a setting.

Well, only two more carols to go. With that in mind, what are your favorite carols? Any that have been overlooked here?

Sing we now of Christmas,
Noel sing we here.
Sing our grateful praises
To the maid so dear.
Chorus
Sing we Noel!
The King is born, Noel!
Sing we now of Christmas.
Sing we here, Noel!

From the Eastern kingdoms
Come the wise men far.
Bearing ancient treasure,
Following yonder star.

Sing we Noel!
The King is born, Noel!
Sing we now of Christmas.
Sing we here, Noel!

Carol of the Bells (Day Nine)

By Tim Butler | Posted at 0:36

And here is the carol of the ninth day of Christmas. Carol of the Bells has always been one of my favorites. In fact, my dad every so often likes to tell the story of how I told my kindergarten teacher that it was my favorite carol, a fact that shocked her. Like many of my favorites, I love the haunting melody.

The words are good as well, although my favorite version in recent years, the version by David Foster, is instrumental. That version is featured as part of the Silver Dollar City Christmas tree light show each year, has something of the style of a Mannheim Steamroller Christmas carol reworking (although more dramatic than the usual MS style) and is well worth checking out. The Trans-Siberian Orchestra's “Christmas Eve Sarajevo (12/24)” is also worth checking out as a modern reworking.

Hark how the bells,
sweet silver bells,
all seem to say,
throw cares away

Christmas is here,
bringing good cheer,
to young and old,
meek and the bold,

Ding dong ding dong
that is their song
with joyful ring
all caroling

—Mykola Dmytrovych Leontovych (English adaptation by Peter Wilhousky)

We Wish You a Merry Christmas (Belated Day Eight)

By Tim Butler | Posted at 0:26

So, this is the carol for yesterday. And, what could be better suited for a Christmas carol on New Year's Day than one that mentions the New Year? I don't have anything profound to say about this carol. Right now, the only thing that comes to mind is the “Muppets” version that plays on the radio during the Christmas season in which Miss Piggy gets upset about talk of “piggy pudding.” Like I said, nothing profound. ;)

We wish you a Merry Christmas;
We wish you a Merry Christmas;
We wish you a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year.

Good tidings we bring to you and your kin;
Good tidings for Christmas and a Happy New Year.

Auld Lang Syne (Belated Day Seven)

By Tim Butler | Posted at 1:06

Happy New Year! Well, I failed to get a seventh day of Christmas carol up yesterday, so I'll post it late. Actually, not a carol at all, but how can one pass up Auld Lang Syne on New Years Eve? Well, it's easy — I did it, apparently — but now that it is New Year's Day, I present what should have been yesterday's post.

May your year not be one filled with forgetting old acquaintances, but with joy in continued remembrance as you “take a cup 'o kindness.”

Should auld acquaintance be forgot,
and never brought to mind?
Should auld acquaintance be forgot,
And days o' auld lang syne

—Robert Burns

Oh, and I'll post today's carol tomorrow. ;-)

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