Merry Christmas, Reader!
One of my favorite things about the Christmas season is the accompanying soundtrack. Whether I hear Christmas music while shopping, during television commercials, at local church services, or in my own home, I can’t seem to get enough of it. So this week I’m taking a break from burying my nose in a book and I’m looking up, closing my eyes, and reveling in a Christmas carol that has been heard around the world for hundreds of years.
“The Wexford Carol” has its roots in Wexford County, Ireland and is believed to have come into existence during the 15th or 16th century. Some scholars even mark its beginnings as early as the 12th century.
Good people all, this Christmas time,
Consider well and bear in mind
What our good God for us has done
In sending His beloved Son
Verse by verse, “The Wexford Carol” walks us through the story of Jesus’s birth. Mary and Joseph travel to Bethlehem and seek shelter in a stable. In nearby fields, angels appear to shepherds. Baby Jesus is visited by shepherds and wise men.
As you can imagine, there are countless recorded versions of this song. One recording in particular tugs at my heart. Accompanied by Yo-Yo Ma on cello, vocalist Alison Krauss sings “The Wexford Carol” in a minor key and the reverent, awe-filled effect is enhanced by the subtle addition of fiddle, bagpipes, and light percussion. This haunting version was recorded for the Songs of Joy and Peace album (2008) and you can link to a YouTube video of it here.
Another beautiful version of this carol was recorded by Julie Andrews (1966). This fully orchestrated, uplifting rendition ends, in classic Julie Andrews style, on a high note. Link to a YouTube video of it here.
Reader, whatever music you’re listening to this week, I pray it brings hope, joy, and peace to your heart and your home.
‘Prepare and go,’ the angels said
‘To Bethlehem, be not afraid
For there you’ll find, this happy morn
A princely babe, sweet Jesus born’
Here with you,