Hidden Gems in Christmas Carols (12-15-13)
According to Dumbarton’s Phil Wogaman, the Christmas carols and songs we sing are full of little insights on love, peace, and justice. Here’s some of what he told the Dec. 15 Adult Ed about specific lyrics in our Christmas favorites :
AWAY IN A MANGER)
“Bless all the dear children in thy tender care” recognizes that all children are God’s children.
WHAT CHILD IS THIS?
“Come peasant king…”emphasizes Jesus’ humble origins.
ANGELS FROM THE REALM OF GLORY
“Sages, leave your contemplations, brighter visions beam afar” is a powerful reminder about faith. “Revelation precedes reason,” Wogaman said. “We don’t create revelation with our minds.”
BREAK FORTH O BEAUTEOUS HEAVENLY NIGHT
“He comes not mighty to destroy.” Force can’t guarantee security.
O LITTLE TOWN OF BETHLEHEM
“"How silently, how silently the wondrous gift is given" reminds us that the best gifts are often given "silently," without fanfare.
SANTA CLAUS IS COMING TO TOWN
“So be good for goodness’ sake.” Be good for the sake of the good. Don’t depend on your emotional state of being but on your deep fulfillment as a human being.
The carol’s reference to “peace on earth” reflects a yearning for universal peace. And for Wogaman, “hail incarnate deity” refers to Jesus not as an artful creation of God but the essence of God. Finally, Silent Night portrays Jesus as identifying with “the poor, the scorned, the lowly.” Wogaman finds this image compelling. “There are times when I think the reason Jesus was crucified was because he reached out to stigmatized people,” Wogaman told Adult Ed.