Next week is Christmas, my very favorite holiday. The house is clean, the lights are hung, there's a dusting of snow outside, making this a surprisingly white almost-Christmas. (We usually don't get snow until after New Year.) And I am thinking about cookies and Christmas Carols. Now, cookies, while delicious, are not much of a subject for a writing and literature blog (two bites and they're over) but carols are worthy of a post.
The amazing thing about carols (and perhaps poetry in general) is how much meaning they pack in just a few verses. We Three Kings manages to tell the whole life of Christ from birth to crucifixion and teach the symbolism of each Magi gift in just five verses. That's pretty impressive. O Come O Come Immanuel brings out a sense of the humanity of the Old Testement prophets, their longing as they looked forward to Christ's coming. Then there's Joy to the World, which is just an outpouring of praise and thanksgiving.
Christmas Carols get to be a tradition. They're passed down as invisible gifts from parents who want to share something of their warm Christmas memories with their children. Carols are sung in nursing homes to bring those memories back to lonely elders. Music is powerful, so are words, and perhaps memories are most powerful of all. The three are wrapped together in Christmas Carols, making for something that lasts.
So how about you? Do you have any favorite traditions for this time of year? What do you think makes for memorable poetry? Do you think carols would have lasted so long if they weren't set to music?
I hope you all have a wonderful holiday.