Merle's Christmas reflections - 2. The joy of song
Wouldn’t it be good this Christmas if we could wholeheartedly sing these words –
Joy to the world! the Lord is come; Let earth receive her King; Let every heart prepare him room, And heaven and nature sing, And heaven and nature sing, And heaven, and heaven, and nature sing.
For three years, a robin sitting high up in a cherry tree, not far from our front door, has heralded the entrance and exit of people visiting our home. I have watched his changes of plumage throughout the year and have a little chuckle to myself when he skulks in the bushes late summer to hide his scruffy appearance during the moult. I see him as our Christmas bird with his bright red breast and joyous, if not very tuneful, song. I googled the lifespan of a robin and was amazed to find the oldest recorded age of one robin was 19 years. I was quite saddened when, three days ago, he had disappeared from his usual perch. Had he found the grass was greener the other side of the fence or had he expired?
During recent weeks I’ve heard people lament that they can’t sing Christmas carols as is normally done at Christmas time. There have been no carol concerts, festivities, switching on of Christmas light ceremonies, busking in the high streets, musicals or pantomimes. In other words, these Christmas traditions and the nostalgia associated with them are missing this year.
I do, however, admire all the attempts to broadcast the music of Christmas through social media. Even my grandchildren can request Alexa to play their favourite Christmas songs or music. People are hankering after the simple singing of Christmas carols together. It’s so important that we don’t lose our desire for either making or enjoying music again.
Every culture has its own song. There is the music of Africa, for instance, or the spirituals sung by the slaves in the deep South of America. No music compares with that of voices blending in natural harmony. Does that mean that less harmonious voices are unacceptable? Definitely not – it’s the expression of the heart that matters. That in itself uplifts the soul of the singer and does the listeners good too. Christmas encourages us to sing about the wonderful birth of Jesus Christ. To my joy today, the robin was sitting high up in the cherry tree heralding my exit out this afternoon. Many of us will not be able to go home this Christmas but let us not quench the Christmas spirit of love, joy, peace and hope. We can have:
Hope for each new day Peace at all times Joy that wells up in our hearts to encourage us All wrapped up in Love