Christmas is only 3 days away (!) We’ve been watching Christmas movies and been to the Christmas Market. We’ve pretty much got that Christmas feeling around here! So, when my friend Nicki from Curly and Candid tagged me for my Ultimate Christmas Song, I couldn’t resist.
I also couldn’t choose just one song! I thought about it a lot. There are so many favourites at this time of year… I’m a sucker for ‘Do They Know It’s Christmas?’ and it always feels like Christmas after I hear ‘Christmas Wrapping’. But my real all-time favourites are traditional carols. There are two particular ones that bring me to tears every time I hear or sing them.
The first one is ‘Away in a Manger’. This song reminds me so much of my childhood. I remember singing it with my grandparents (both of whom have now passed on,) and brings me just a little closer to them at Christmas-time.Â It makes me think of how they must have felt listening to my tiny voice sing it when I listen to my own little angels sing it now. I guess just like in England, in America, it is one of the first ones we learn as children. In fact, in doing this post, I found out some interesting facts about it:
- Away in a Manger is an American carol and was first published in a Lutheran Sunday School book in Philadelphia,Â Little Children’s Book for Schools and Families, in 1885 by James R. Murray.
- The third verse was written several years later.
- The carol is set to two well known tunes.
- Mueller was written by James R. Murray, and first published in 1887. This is the tune mostly used in America (and the one I grew up singing.) I have posted the Mueller version so my friends and family here in England can hear it.
- Cradle Song was written by William J. Kirkpatrick, and first published in 1895. This tune is the one used in the UK and the one that our girls sing. (It took me a while to get used to this, but I am learning to love it through them.)
The second one is the most classic of all- Silent Night. In the church where I grew up, on Christmas Eve there was a candlelight service that ended after midnight. Towards the end of the service, all the lights were turned off and every person lit their candle passed on from the flame of the Christ Candle at the altar. It was during the candle-lighting that we always sang Silent Night. The candlelight signified that the light of Christ had now come into the world. Christmas was here! This was the true magic of Christmas for me. When we emerged from church, everything felt different. There was such excitement and a peace over everyone. Here are some interesting facts about the song:
- The legend states that in 1818, a broken organ forced Father Joseph Mohr and organist Franz Gruber to pull together “Silent Night” for voices and guitars at the last minute.
- The original lyrics were written by Mohr in 1816 in Austria.
- The English translation was published in 1859.
- Â The song was sung simultaneously in French, English and German by troops during the Christmas truce of 1914.
So, these are my two Ultimate Christmas Carols. I’d love to hear your favourites in the comments.
Now it’s time to play ‘tag’:
photo credit: A Charlie Brown Christmas- Charles M Schulz