Thursday, December 23, 2010

A Christmas Carol for the Night Watch

This is my favorite of them all: God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen. It's also my sister's favorite. I think it's a good mix of the spiritual, the reassuring, and the historical. It's also easy on the ears, which Jingle Bells is not. So for those who might be reading who are not Christian, I hope you will enjoy (as I do) the inherent humanity in it.

The lyrics were first collected in the 1800's, but have been around since the 15th century.  It is also a carol associated with the night watchmen of English villages, who used to sing it for tips hundreds of years before tax dollars paid for city security.

This is Annie Lennox, with her clear voice and some great minor key harmonics. (Sorry, you do get a commercial first.) The video is meant to convey the "mummers" of English folk life also.



A special thanks to all our watchmen and women, 
keeping us safe during holiday hours. 
Merry Christmas to you all. 
Thank you for the gifts you give us--security, confidence--
every day of every year.


I got the lyrics from carols-dot-org from the United Kingdom. They are below the jump.
God rest ye merry, gentlemen
Let nothing you dismay
Remember, Christ, our Saviour
Was born on Christmas day
To save us all from Satan's power
When we were gone astray
O tidings of comfort and joy,
Comfort and joy
O tidings of comfort and joy.

In Bethlehem, in Israel,
This blessed Babe was born
And laid within a manger
Upon this blessed morn
The which His Mother Mary
Did nothing take in scorn
O tidings of comfort and joy,
Comfort and joy
O tidings of comfort and joy

From God our Heavenly Father
A blessed Angel came;
And unto certain Shepherds
Brought tidings of the same:
How that in Bethlehem was born
The Son of God by Name.
O tidings of comfort and joy,
Comfort and joy
O tidings of comfort and joy

"Fear not then," said the Angel,
"Let nothing you affright,
This day is born a Saviour
Of a pure Virgin bright,
To free all those who trust in Him
From Satan's power and might."
O tidings of comfort and joy,
Comfort and joy
O tidings of comfort and joy

The shepherds at those tidings
Rejoiced much in mind,
And left their flocks a-feeding
In tempest, storm and wind:
And went to Bethlehem straightway
The Son of God to find.
O tidings of comfort and joy,
Comfort and joy
O tidings of comfort and joy

And when they came to Bethlehem
Where our dear Saviour lay,
They found Him in a manger,
Where oxen feed on hay;
His Mother Mary kneeling down,
Unto the Lord did pray.
O tidings of comfort and joy,
Comfort and joy
O tidings of comfort and joy

Now to the Lord sing praises,
All you within this place,
And with true love and brotherhood
Each other now embrace;
This holy tide of Christmas
All other doth deface.
O tidings of comfort and joy,
Comfort and joy
O tidings of comfort and joy--

10 comments:

Momma Fargo said...

My favorite song along with the Little Drummer Boy. I used to play this song on my keyboard as a kid all the time. I think my parents thought I was manic. Merry Christmas!

Slamdunk said...

Merry Chistmas Ann T.

My fav Christmas hymn has the strong historical tie as well--What Child is This? with Greensleeves.

Bob G. said...

Ann:
I have developed a new respect for Ms Lennox ever since I heard her sing the song in Lord of the Rings Into the west)..
She's got a fantastic voice.
Great video ()and song)

Thanks.

Have a great Christmas eve-eve.

Ann T. said...

Dear Momma Fargo,
I love hearing about you playing this on keyboard! And I love hearing that it gets a lot of play. I rarely hear it unless I look for it.

Merry Christmas,
Ann T.

Ann T. said...

Dear Slamdunk,
Oh, yes, that's another beautiful carol. I guess as long as we keep bringing them up, they will still live in our history.

Thanks for reminding me,
Ann T.

Ann T. said...

Dear Bob,
I am glad you enjoyed it! I've always loved her voice. For one thing, she usually arranges music to showcase clean clear notes--me, I have to disguise that I don't have any range!

And again, with your Christmas series,
You got me to thinking.

Thank you for that and for stopping by,
Ann

suz said...

I went to a Eurythmics concert in the mid 80's and was blown away by her voice! I'm surprised she never knocked Enya off the "Celtic chicks" pedestal. I've always loved her rendition of "Winter Wonderland," but I think this is a new favorite that won't grow old. Lennox is all over my Ipod. Merry Christmas to you Ann!

The Bug said...

Love love love the video! I'm probably going to come back & watch it again - and certainly make sure Dr. Linthead sees it.

Ann T. said...

Dear Suz,
Oh, I was commenting on this yesterday and the comment wiped out. Go figure.

But anyway, I LOVED the Eurhythmics and Annie Lennox has so much style, as well as that voice.

You have a Happy Holiday!
Thanks for writing in.

Ann T.

Ann T. said...

Dear The Bug,
Oh, I'm so glad you enjoyed it!

Have a Happy Christmas with C.L. and your family. You deserve it!

Very truly yours,
Ann T.