Monday, December 05, 2005

Sweet Christmas Music

Bright and early Saturday morning, Krista and I joined a whole bunch of friends from our church over at the CKER station to record some Christmas music to be played on Deacon Gregory K's radio show. So we went over and fifteen of us all crowded into this little recording room and sang a whole bunch of fun Christmas music.

One of the great songs in the book we had that we didn't sing was "In The Bleak Midwinter," by Christina Rossetti, one of my most beloved Christmas songs. I remember singing with the (then) meagre Christmas morning crowd at Longsight Church in Manchester.

In the bleak midwinter, frost wind made moan,
Earth stood hard as iron, water like a stone;
Snow had fallen, snow on snow, snow on snow,
In the bleak midwinter, long ago.

Our God, heaven cannot hold him, nor earth sustain;
Heaven and earth shall flee away when he comes to reign.
In the bleak midwinter a stable place sufficed
The Lord God Almighty, Jesus Christ.

Angels and archangels may have gathered there,
Cherubim and seraphim thronged the air;
But his Mother only, in her maiden bliss,
Worshiped the beloved with a kiss.

What can I give him, poor as I am?
If I were a shepherd, I would bring a lamb;
If I were a Wise Man, I would do my part;
Yet what I can I give him: give my heart.

- Christina Rossetti, 1872

And that reminded me of a great recording of Christmas music by Shawn Colvin that Kim got me hooked on several years back, because the first song is... you guessed it! "In The Bleak Midwinter." So we put it on yesterday. It also features the great Peanuts classic "Christmastime is Here." And, for those of you who know me well... or at least, for a long time, know that I have a soft spot for Charlie Brown.

Happy Eve of St. Nicholas!


Blogger kimberley said...

Happy SaintNicholas Eve!
Are you putting your shoes out?

10:10 AM  
Blogger Krista said...

Yes! Happy Eve of St. Nicholas Everyone!!!

Hey Matthew, weren't you Charlie Brown in a play back in High school....wish I could have seen it :)....I forget, did you shave your head for that one? I recall you telling me that you did and that you had a nice round Charlie Brown the real deal! :)

11:05 AM  
Blogger Matthew Francis said...

I didn't shave my head for Charlie Brown (who I did play in the Chilliwack Senior production back in '94), but I did later when I was in College - either to raise money or for some sort of a dare. Sean P. and I both did and boy did I ever look like Charlie Brown. Sean, on the other hand, looked much more aerodynamic!

Good grief!

Do we put the shoes out tonight or tommorrow?

12:11 PM  
Blogger kimberley said...

I think we used to do it on the sixth as kids but the 'eve of' makes more sense. My boss is going to some dutch 'sinterklaus' festivities tommorrow if that's any indication.

2:35 PM  
Blogger RW said...

I am going to try and find that CD! I am always looking for some new Christmas music.

10:45 PM  
Blogger hunchback scholar said...

Sorry I've kind of abandoned my blog. Left it for dead by the roadway. You know. Maybe I'll revive it one day. But I can be contacted, if you so wish, at As regards my prayer rope, I got it in Victoria. There's a lady at All Saints who makes them.

11:39 AM  
Blogger kimberley said...

it's so good. do you know shawn colvin, ramona? she's a bit like you in some ways... a cool mum

12:35 PM  
Blogger Matthew Francis said...

Ah, Jesse! Great to hear from you. Thanks for your email and the note on your prayer rope.

12:54 PM  
Blogger Matthew Francis said...

Oh, I should also mention the illustration on Shawn Colvin's cd is actually by Maurice Sendak, of "Where the Wild Things Are" fame.

12:55 PM  
Blogger Gabe said...

I think Andrea B. makes them in Victoria (the prayer ropes that is). She made me one just last month and Mira brought it to the retreat, so now I have one. We should form a group. The Victorian Prayer Rope Bearers. or something.

Anyway, I did a Charlie Brown Monologue just last fall which was pretty awesome. I wish I could see the whole play.

Later days.

3:38 PM  
Blogger Matthew Francis said...

That's awesome, Gabe. Was it from "Your a Good Man, Charlie Brown?" I think I still have most of it memorized after 12 years!

9:19 AM  
Blogger Gabe said...

I think it was: lunch time is probably the worst time for the day for me.....
that was the first line i think.

3:15 PM  
Blogger hendricks said...

One of our favorite Christmas Carols as well. The church choir is especially delightful during advent -- all kinds of people come out of the woodwork to join and to wear the beautiful red robes. Music is one of the things that makes this season so enjoyable.

7:50 PM  
Blogger MatJenny said...

Aaaaaaargh!! This is such a great post on so many levels I fear my head shall explode!

1) Bleak Midwinter -- awesome carol
2)Did't know it was C Rossetti -- Arts and Crafts connection!!! Yeah!
3) Have a King's College recording, beautiful but have never seen the words in print -- woooooow so beautiful.
4)Shawn Colvin -- yeahhhhh!!!
5) Must get that cd
6) Not entirely about this post but I notice you are a WILCO fan! Yeah! They rock the free world! Do you have the Mermaid Avenue cds? You have to get them! Billy Bragg and Wilco do Woody Guthrie lyrics (that had no music 'cuz Woody died with hundreds of songs unscored) Actually I don't have any other Wilco, a situation I am going to remedy SOON.

Boy are you guys cool. Can I be your friend? ;-)

11:24 PM  
Blogger MatJenny said...

Oh argh! Maurice Sendak ALSO rocks! Have you noticed how all truly cool things are, like, connected, man?

Ok, no more 8 pm naps for me; it appears to make me slightly psychotic.

(ie. I keep falling asleep while putting Ella to bed, then I wake up at 8:30 and bounce off the walls for 4 more hours!)

11:29 PM  
Blogger Matthew Francis said...

Thanks! Our first dance at our wedding was to Wilco's "Far Far Away."

12:28 PM  

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