To catch the full impact of the full gospel message in traditional Christmas carols -- those which tell the story of Jesus from birth through the anticipated second Christmas -- it's important to listen to all the stanzas.
The first five selections of "Carol Story" do so primarily by setting the atmosphere of the night Jesus was born to his earthly parents. The selection which best establishes the setting, like a screenplay stage directions, is "It Came Upon a Midnight Clear."
"It Came Upon a Midnight Clear" is a paradox in that its author, Edmond Sears, was a Unitarian pastor who believed and preached the Divinity of Jesus. Unitarians may or may not believe in God; those who do believe do not necessarily accept The Trinity (Father, Son, Holy Spirit) belief. Sears was intrigued by the role of the angels in the account of Christ's birth recorded in the Gospel of Luke (Chapter 2). Nevertheless, the song is a standard in many Methodist Church hymnals.
The musical version on #TheCarolStoryPlaylist by Anne Murray embodies the simplicity of the lyric and the clarity of the angelic tone. Murray's arrangement leaves little question why Elvis Presley called her his favorite singer. (Incidentally, as of this writing, Anne Murray has not passed away, despite recent Internet condolences claiming otherwise.)
Sears' poem providing recurring exposition for our #CarolStory narrative. Its subsequent stanzas, not always sung, are a sterling example of why reading lyrics is as important as recording the tune. Perhaps moreso.
LEARN MORE: Edmund Sears -- Unitarian seminarian, Methodist author.
By the time she was seven years old, she was singing all the time. For over 40 years, her unique voice and heartwarming style have made her a household name. She led the way for a generation of Canadian divas, who have also conquered the world – Celine Dion, Shania Twain, k.d. lang, Alanis Morissette and Sarah McLachlan. They all followed in her footsteps – Canada’s “Songbird,” Anne Murray.
The KIT 'n' Kaboodle Blog
The essays here are culled from our travels, conversations, worship experiences and discoveries.
Many are reprints from our newsletter, The KIT 'n' Kaboodle, or Facebook notes over time.
They're written by our ensemble, Garlan Garner, Michael Edgar Myers or Vikki J. Myers -- solo, or collectively.