Carols - Monday Musing, December 21, 2020
Carols. “Popular songs or ballads of religious joy; to sing, especially in a cheerful manner.” By definition, Christmas Carols are meant to be sung. And yet, we find ourselves in the middle of a global pandemic when, although we are thankful to be worshipping in-person again (masked, physically distanced with the windows wide open), we are prohibited from singing. Where is the joy in that? Unfortunately, singing in a room in close contact with people poses risk to everyone – singing is considered a super-spreader for COVID-19.
Traditionally, a service of “Lessons and Carols” is held on Christmas Eve. The promise of the Messiah and the birth of Jesus is told in nine Bible readings (or lessons) from the prophetic book of Isaiah and the Gospels, interspersed with the singing of Christmas carols, hymns, and choir anthems. This year the COVID-19 Grinch has stolen our caroling tradition and robbed us of our joy of singing!
Shall we boycott worship this year because singing carols is not allowed? I pray not! In fact, it is because we cannot sing that we should all the more be worshipping and celebrating the lessons of our faith, albeit through scripture and listening to the music this year. After all the waiting, anticipation, and expectations of Advent, Christmas is here – whether we can sing or not! I invite us to celebrate the Christmas story, the telling of Jesus’ birth in a manger, of how God came to us as a little child, celebrating (once again) this majestic mystery of our faith, thus drawing us closer to our God. We know the story oh so well, but it is through hearing the story that we renew our faith, albeit a bit differently this year.
After the Christmas Eve worship service (in-person or viewed online), crank up the volume, however you listen to your music at home, and let the carols rip. Here are some Christmas lyrics/songs for you to reflect on the irony of this COVID-19 Christmas:
· “So this is Christmas” – John Lennon
· “It’s the Most Wonderful Time of the Year” – Andy Williams
· “I’ll be home for Christmas, if only in my dreams” – Bing Crosby
· “You’re a Mean One, Mr. Grinch” – Thurl Ravenscroft
· “From now on our troubles will be out of sight” (Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas) – Judy Garland
Christmas Eve does not need to be a totally Silent Night. Merry Christmas!