Tuesday, November 29, 2011

My Christmas Tree Top Angel

I collect Christmas tree ornaments, or I should say they collect me!  I really hadn't thought about collecting them until my mother-in-law began giving me a tree ornament every year for Christmas.  This began early in my marriage, almost 31 years ago, and I now have a very sizable collection of ornaments.  My mom-in-law hasn't given me any new ornaments the past few years, but I have continued the tradition by buying myself one at the beginning of every Christmas season.  I thought I would share some photos of them with you during the following days. 

The first one is my Christmas Tree Top Angel.  I've had her for about 4 years now.  She is beautiful as she sits atop our tree, heralding the birth of the Christ Child so long ago in Bethlehem, but who is alive forevermore! 

I also would like to occasionally share a short history of some of our most beloved Christmas carols.  The first one I'd like to tell the story of is "It Came Upon a Midnight Clear."

The words for this American carol are based on a poem written by Unitarian minister Dr. Edmund Sears in 1849. The following year, inspired by the poem, Richard Storrs Willis, a composer as well as editor and critic for the New York Tribune, wrote a melody called "Carol" to which the words were adapted.

It came upon the midnight clear,
That glorious song of old,
From angels bending near the earth,
To touch their harps of gold:
"Peace on the earth, goodwill to men
From heavens all gracious King!"
The world in solemn stillness lay
To hear the angels sing.

Still through the cloven skies they come,
With peaceful wings unfurled;
And still their heavenly music floats
O'er all the weary world:
Above its sad and lowly plains
They bend on hovering wing,
And ever o'er its Babel sounds
The blessed angels sing.

O ye beneath life's crushing load,
Whose forms are bending low,
Who toil along the climbing way
With painful steps and slow;
Look now, for glad and golden hours
Come swiftly on the wing;
Oh rest beside the weary road
And hear the angels sing.

For lo! the days are hastening on,
By prophets seen of old,
When with the ever-circling years
Shall come the time foretold,
When the new heaven and earth shall own
The Prince of Peace, their King,
And the whole world send back the song
Which now the angels sing.