Wednesday, December 27, 2006

Bishop Duncan Reflecting on Christmas Carols

After my tired ramblings about Christmas carols and how much I am loving the passing on of them to my daughter, I was blessed to find these reflections from my Bishop, Robert Duncan, in his Christmas sermon (posted on the diocese of Pittsburgh's website):

The hymns and carols of Christmas are one of the greatest treasures of Christian theology – simply stated – anywhere to be found. Over and over they capture the whole truth about Jesus and about us, about the stunning redemption God has worked through His one and only Son, and about the present and the future that God has opened to all of us willing to accept this unmerited gift.

In the culture in which I was raised I was blessed in a manner that few children are today. Over and over again I heard the carols, even the obscure ones, with all their verses and stanzas, and I came to know many of them by heart. They are my rudimentary theological foundation. When I went off to college and to life they went with me as much a part of me as my physical frame or emotional make-up, a spiritual grounding that has proved unshakeable through all the trials and challenges of human life in this world. A pastoral question that haunts me is this: How might we re-immerse ourselves and our children and our society in these carols? But that matter is for another sermon. Today – tonight – I would have us just focus on the “good news of great joy” of which the angel to the shepherds speaks. (Luke 2:10)

The rest of this brief sermon is also wonderful: he meditates on merriment and joy, the true joy of this season and the joy that only the Lord can bring to our hearts, even in the midst of real suffering. If you'd like to read it in its entirety, it can be found here: "God Rest You Merry". This is a sermon that really resonates with my own heart this season!


Erin said...

Great sermon! Of course, I can't get enough of the Christmas carols! We were visiting my uncle and his family today, and my cousin's friend, who's music director for his church, was saying that a lot of these carols have 8 to 12 verses. For most of them I've only heard four or fewer; it would be interesting to see the others!

Beth said...

It would be interesting! Check out the website I mention in my other posting -- I think it's -- they often have not only the history but many verses of various carols. Apparently a lot of the carols have appeared in more than one form over the years...makes sense, I guess.

Let's keep singing! :-)

Erin said...

Great resource! I looked through several Christmas music databases this month while trying to find "definitive" versions of certain songs, but never came across this site. Looks great! :)