Carols and memory


On the second day of Christmas…

I will never tire of this song; in fact, I have posted it several times.

I went through a phase when I found carols to be mawkish, over sentimentalised and theologically inaccurate. Of course, they are all of those- and yet they are something more.

It is only now, that I am over 50 that I begin to see it- they are memory. As I sing them, I remember Christmases past; both events that happened and people that are no longer here. I have seen this on wards; people who cannot always cognitively perceive things that well due to memory loss, are able to sing carols word perfectly.People who say that they have little or no faith are unashamedly able to sing carols loudly.

All of them express joy in the singing and joy afterwards. Somehow the mood is lifted as memory flickers into life. Yet also, hope is reawakened for the future:-

‘It is because of the dark,

we see the beauty in the spark.

That;s why,

That’s why,

the carols make you cry.’

And even if it is quickly snuffed out- ‘Christmas is over’ (it is only the 2nd day of Christmas...), there is still the hope and longing that things could be different…



I had in mind to post something different today, but then I spent some time preparing for some ward carol services this week.

To do this, I was looking at some old stuff that I had written for churches and then adapting it. I have to be faithful to the tradition, provide enough that the familiar themes are played out but also lead them in a way that they are totally open and accessible (whilst I tried to do that in churches, I was in control and set the agenda. Here I am subject to others).

I rediscovered the above song- I had used some of the themes in a Christingle service a year ago. I love this song: how someone who may have no faith longs for the familiar themes at this time of year. I also love the realistic context- I have seen too much of what she sings about this year (and often the test results have not been what has been hoped for or recovery has not happened).

‘It’s because of the dark we see the beauty in the spark’

‘That’s why, that’s why, the carols make you cry’

A beautiful song…


Christmas Music


As it is Christmas, I am keeping it light.

A good friend over at introduced me to this song. It is beautiful: a song of wistful longing for people of my generation. I remember when Christmas letters were full of marriages, births and hope. Now my contemporaries share stories of divorces, children leaving home and illness/death of parents. The joy and hope is often more bittersweet and I think, more real for that.

This is a song for those times. I used it in some of my background thinking to Christingle last Sunday. The Light only means anything if the darkness is acknowledged.