Carols in the snow
Hi everyone from a freezing Bath. I know from Jonathan’s post and the news that I’m lucky not to be trying to cross the Channel, and so far the traffic chaos hasn’t affected my tiny commute. Still the snow and ice seem set and I’m wondering – is the UK going to get its first 'white Christmas' in over a decade?
Bath Santa hoping for a white Christmas!
A white Christmas is one of the great symbols of the season. In previous posts I described two others: the letter to Santa and the pantomime. But it’s also important to remember that Christmas is above all a religious festival and there are many beautiful rituals and traditions to admire.
One of the best-loved of these is what is called the Festival of Nine Lessons and Carols. This special candle-lit service of music and biblical readings is broadcast from Kings College, Cambridge by the BBC every Christmas Eve. There are also services across the UK, usually on the last Sunday evening before Christmas. I attended one at my local church last night and it was a very impressive and moving occasion.
The service always opens with Once in Royal David’s City. An unaccompanied boy chorister traditionally sings the first verse, but our alternative was an outstanding local soprano. She was joined in the second verse by the rest of the choir. Finally the whole congregation joins in to create a magnificent wall of sound.
I should declare an interest here. My wife sings in the choir and the soprano taught my daughter so I am not an unbiased observer. As a terrible singer, I am in awe of those whose talent and hard work can produce such a wonderful performance.
Anyway I’d better get back to my last minute Christmas shopping. Before I do an apology to Kirsti – I didn’t see your titles, which is a shame because you did exceptionally well. Two of them – I Will and Something – I hadn’t even intended!
You also correctly identify Yellow Submarine (a song as well as an album and a feature-length cartoon film). For this week there is only one song – and I’ll make it easier for you. Try looking in the previous paragraph.
Finally, I confess that my name was missing for a few hours last week. I’m not used to signing-off when blogging and I didn’t notice the omission until after I posted.
I won’t make the same mistake today because first words I wrote were the following
Wishing you all the happiest Christmas!
PS: Filippo – I sympathise with your father but I think I’d have preferred a Disney film!
Set – likely to stay
White Christmas – when snow falls on the 25th December. Also the name of the biggest selling song of all time. When quoting the song both words are capitalised but here I am using the word 'white' as a simple adjective.
Carol – Christmas song with a Christian theme
Services – religious events
Chorister – member of choir (group of singers)
Candle-lit – where the only light comes from the candles. This has a religious significance for Christians (the candle represents the idea that the birth of Jesus ‘lights up the world’).
Awe - religious word which now also has a secular meaning. The original meaning was to be in the presence of God – now used to mean ‘greatly admire’. Young Americans frequently use the term ‘awesome’
Soprano – sings the highest notes
Outstanding/magnificent - of exceptional quality
Confess – to admit doing something. Another religious word now part of standard secular vocabulary
Feature-length – long enough to show in cinema i.e. 80 minutes or more.
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