Star Song

We have been having
epiphanies, like suns,
all this year long,
And now, at its close
when the planets
are shining through frost,
light runs
like music in the bones,
and the heart keeps rising
at the sound of any song.
An old magic flows
in the silver calling
of a bell,
high and clear,
flying, falling,
the death knell
of our old year,
the new appearing
of Christ, our Morning Star.

Now burst!
all our bell throats.
every clapper tongue,
Stun the still night!
Jesus himself gleams through
our high heart notes
(it is no fable)
It is he whose light
glistens in each song sung
and in the true
coming together again
to the stable,
of all of us: shepherds,
sages, his women and men,
common and faithful,
wealthy and wise,
with carillon hearts
and suddenly,
stars in our eyes.
~ Luci Shaw
Once Upon a Christmas

The Carols of Christmas

Each year during Advent and Christmas I enjoy many of the same carols I sang when I was growing up. But I also love learning new ones, which are mostly really old! I have a lovely Christmas songbook given to me by my son, Ben. In it I find the traditional favorites as well as many that have become well loved if not as familiar. The following is one of those. The origins of this old carol apparently lie in the southern part of France. I am strangely attracted to it, and like to think that my French great great grandparents might have taught this to their little girl who later came with them to the United States and was my great grandmother. Although she died when I was a baby, perhaps she even sang it to me and rocked me. I feel it so.

Whence comes this rush of wings afar,
Following straight the Noel star?
Birds from the woods in wondrous flight,
Bethlehem seek this Holy Night.

Tell us, ye birds, why come ye here,
Into this stable, poor and drear?
“Hastning we seek the newborn King,
And all our sweetest music bring.”

Christmas Rose

Snow falls rarely on the Texas Gulf Coast.  Yesterday it snowed all day!  In this season of Advent, several beloved carols ring with mention of winter cold and snow.  In the Bleak MidWinter…snow on snow, Lo How a Rose E’er Blooming.  As the words of the songs drifted through my mind, snowflakes drifted and settled onto an antique rose in my garden named Maggie.  This rose is the only one I know whose fragrance is sweeter when it is cut to bring into my home.  One single bloom was bejeweled with snowflakes.

                              Lo, how a Rose e’er blooming

                              From tender stem hath sprung!

                                       Of Jesse’s lineage coming

                                       As men of old have sung.

                                       It came, a flow’ret bright,

                                        Amid the cold of winter,

                                When half-spent was the night.

                                                                     ~ Fourteenth-Century German Melody

                                                                         This verse, Sixteenth-Century German