hoedls haven
Where Nature is the source of all artistic expression

Wednesday, January 24, 2006

As the past holiday season fades to a warm and distant memory, I would like to share with you one more bit of Christmas trivia... first, I'll share with you one Christmas secret of mine...

Throughout all of my childhood and recent adulthood, I have been a fond lover of the Christmas carol, "God Rest Ye, Merry Gentlemen." I think it is both the combination of the minor chord progression throughout the carol mixed with the uplifting message that always allows me to vividly imagine a cold winter's night where neighbors are warmly greeting one another.

Now, on to the bit of Christmas trivia...

Did you know that God Rest Ye, Merry Gentlemen was first published in England in 1833? Maybe. Did you know the author of the carol is unknown? Possibly. Okay, but did you know that the original song was not titled "God Rest Ye, Merry Gentleme?" It was appropriately titled "God Rest Ye Merry, Gentlemen." Notice that the comma has been moved over one word to the right. And it makes all the difference in the world...

Over time, the words of the song have come to have a different meaning and thus, the changing of the comma following the word Ye. At the time of its conception, the carol speaks of rest, which, at the time, meant "keep," while merry meant "mighty" or "strong." It was not an address to "merry gentlemen," but rather a wish and proclamation that stated "May God keep you strong/mighty"... God rest ye merry... gentlemen. It is believed that the song was sung to the gentry (the town's nobility) by the town's watchmen who earned additional money during the Christmas season.

That is the very beauty of the Christmas season, and any other sacred moment in our life: no matter how deep we delve into the experience, we will always find a new and fresh perspective about Life and our life.

To this end, I wish that God may keep you strong and mighty through all your sacred moments, my friend. God rest you merry, my friend.


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