"Silent Night" is the quintessential Christmas song. It's virtually impossible for any artist to record a Christmas album and not have a rendition. In this 200th anniversary of the song's creation, we thought it fun to expand the variety of recordings of the song to show its durability and to underscore the need to not let musicality overshadow the message of the lyrics.
"O Holy Night" is an English translation of the French carol "Le Christien Minuit" that was translated and became a rallying cry of abolitionists during the Civil War. The third verse of "O Holy Night" was a direct Christian call to eradicate slavery, a sentiment that led to the song begin edited or outright banned in some sections of the country. We address this story more in our production, "Freedom Song."
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."
"The First Noel" is based mostly in Luke's Chapter 2 account of the heavenly host of angels announcing the birth of Christ to shepherds. (Enjoy the story.)
To get a good grasp of what happened, put yourself in place of the shepherds: You and some close pals are out camping, in your suburban backyard, or, like, hiding out on the rooftop of a parking garage. Where ever you are the sky is pretty black except for a few twinkle, twinkle little stars, because you're away from city-lights distortion. Then:
"God Rest Ye, Merry Gentlemen" is among the many carols with cryptic meaning and origins. It's a 16th century English tune that has evoked commentaries about the lyricists' commentary on the state of the Church in England, warrior soldiers, uninspiring worship music, bar culture and punctuation.
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.