“It’s the most wonderful time of the year,” is a line from the popular Christmas song written by Eddie Pola, George Wyle and heard so often around Christmas. It lists lots of things that many consider to make this the most wonderful time of the year. Some of those things are “kids jingle belling, everyone telling you be of good cheer. Holiday greetings and gay happy meetings, when friends come to call, parties for hosting, marshmallows for toasting, and caroling out in the snow.”
Then we find a brief phrase that seems to be lost these days for so many, and that line reads, “And tales of the glories of Christmases long, long ago, it’s the most wonderful time of the year.” To me, that’s the very best part of the song, more so than all the other things combined in this song, for it speaks of caroling about the “glories of Christmases long, long ago.”
Our dictionary defines a carol as a religious folk song or popular hymn, particularly one associated with Christmas. I, for one, love Christmas time and I especially love the songs and music of this time of year, but the greatest of all Christmas music is that which shares the real meaning of Christmas. I am listening to carols in the background as I write these words.
Please allow me to share just a few of these lyrics with you. Do you remember, “Noel, Noel?” Some of the lyrics are: Noel, Noel, Noel, Noel, Born is the King of Israel.” The First Nowell has been around since at least the 1700s. The spelling of the word Noel as Nowell has been around since at least the 1800s. The word Noel comes from Noël, which is French for Christmas. Noël, in turn, is derived from the Latin word natalis, which means birthday. So, a long, long time ago, when carol first began to be sung, they sang of Christ’s birth!
And then a favorite of believers and non-believers is Silent Night. The words go, “Silent Night! Holy Night! All is calm. All is bright. Round yon Virgin Mother and Child, Holy infant so tender and mild.” “Silent Night” was composed in 1818 by Franz Xaver Gruber to lyrics by Joseph Mohr in the small town of Oberndorf bei Salzburg, Austria.
How about “Joy to the World?” The lively and joyous song lyrics ring out, “Joy to the world! the Lord is come; Let earth receive her King; Let every heart prepare Him room, And heaven and nature sing.”
English hymn writer Isaac Watts wrote this carol. It was based on Psalm 98 and first published in 1719.
You may be wanting to ask, “What’s your favorite carol?” Honestly, I love them all and it’s difficult to choose a favorite, just like asking me to pick a favorite flavorr of ice cream, I love them all! However, I always tear up in wonder when I hear the words of “O Holy Night.” O holy night was composed in 1847 by the French composer Adolphe Adam. The original lyrics to O Holy Night is a French poem named Minuit, Chrétiens – in English Midnight Christians – written by Placide Cappeau. Later, minister John Sullivan Dwight wrote the English words.
Let me remind you again of some of the lyrics, “O Holy Night! The stars are brightly shining, it is the night of our dear Saviour’s birth. Long lay the world in sin and error pining, ‘til He appear’d and the soul felt its worth.
A thrill of hope the weary world rejoices, For yonder breaks a new and glorious morn.
Fall on your knees! O hear the angel voices! O night divine, O night when Christ was born;
O night divine, O night, O night Divine.”
I wanted to share these thoughts with you just as a reminder that although we enjoy fun songs, like “Jingle Bells” and “Here Comes Santa Claus,” the original Christmas songs were about Christ and His birth.
So, enjoy all the delightful and joyous Christmas music, but please, don’t forget the reason for the season and don’t forget the Son of the songs!
“And she shall bring forth a son, and thou shalt call his name JESUS: for he shall save his people from their sins.” Matthew 1:21
“But when the fulness of the time was come, God sent forth his Son, made of a woman, made under the law, To redeem them that were under the law, that we might receive the adoption of sons. Galatians 4:4-5
Merry Christmas and a very wonderful New Year!
Loyd C Taylor, Sr.