Your Weekly, Sunday Interlude: “Good King Wenceslas” Merry Christmas Everyone

Merry Christmas. I was probably 10 or 12 the first time I heard this song. It wasn’t among the usual set one hears. But it became my favorite the very first time and for all my life because it has the truest meaning of the holiday. It makes me cry.

The song goes back to 1853 but the real King Wenceslas, now a saint, lived in the 10th Century. Christmas is a time to be grateful for what we have and to care for those who are in need, cold, sick, poor. So this good king is the example of seeing and caring for others.

And it really must be an English choir to present the song. Here’s the Choir of Westminster Abbey:

“Therefore, Christian men, be sure
Wealth or rank possessing
Ye, who now will bless the poor
Shall yourselves find blessing.”

Right?

Your Weekly, Sunday Interlude: “River” (It’s Comin’ on Christmas)

Remember “The Wonder Years?” That show introduced me to some great songs from the 1960s. This is one of them; Joni Mitchell’s “River,” or as many of you may know it, It’s Comin’ on Christmas. Its lyrics are of love lost, but it speaks to the sadness that can often surround holidays, with any love gone from our lives and the bitter-sweet, accompanying memories. And the beauty of the words, tempo and melody gives one pause, something most holiday songs do not. So it’s a great Sunday interlude for this time of year.

Like me, some of you may share a new, certain sorrow this December. I haven’t been able to wake these past several weeks without first thinking of the dread looming in D.C. This song may comfort that feeling, too. Happy Sunday.