There’s a Song in the Air

22 Dec

by Marilyn Brandt-Smith

Music has always been my strongest means for expressing and celebrating the spiritual beauty of Christmas. As a good harmony singer on a school campus where music played a leading role, I rose early on our day for going home. In the older girls’ cottage we donned warm clothing and took to the roads on campus to sing beneath windows and on patios at other dormitories. This rite of passage had been our dream ever since we were those little girls, cold from crisp air through open windows, but captured by the magic of Christmas harmony. Anticipating hot cocoa and breakfast served early, we serenaded the superintendent and the men in the boiler room providing our steam heat. The night before, in our annual Christmas pageant, we tried our wings onstage or sang from the balcony, open to the back of the auditorium from the second floor. We got goosebumps as three high school boys with grown-up, handsome voices walked up the center aisle singing “We Three Kings,” and joined the manger scene onstage.

Each line in this collection of haiku is taken from a song celebrating the nativity. Some songs and verses may be obscure, but most are familiar. Some mystery writers in the 1930’s used footnotes to prove they’d dropped clues here and there. I offer a list, ordered by line, of the songs from which I borrowed lyrics.

 No crying he makes,
The babe, the son of Mary,
Born in Bethlehem.
 
Angels bending near,
What your gladsome tidings be?
So, to honor him.
 
Sing, choirs of angels;
Rise up, shepherd, and follow
The stars in the sky.
 
Peace to men on Earth!
Go tell it on the mountain;
Come little children.
 
Come and behold him;
Lo, how a rose e’er blooming,
Born on Christmas day.
 
He shall feed his flock;
The weary world rejoices;
Sheep may safely graze.
 
Yay, Lord, we greet Thee,
Born to raise the sons of Earth,
His gospel is peace.
 
Star of Bethlehem,
Guide us to thy perfect light;
Christ was born for this.
 
**********
 Sources:

There’s a Song in the Air, Away in a Manger, What Child is This?, Children, Go Where I Send Thee, It Came Upon a Midnight Clear, Angels We have Heard on High, Little Drummer Boy, Oh, Come, All Yee Faithful, Rise Up, Shepherd, and Follow, Oh Little Town of Bethlehem, Go Tell it on the Mountain, Oh Come, Little Children, Lo, How a Rose E’er Blooming, Mary’s Boy Child, He Shall Feed His Flock, from Handel’s Messiah, Oh Holy Night, Sheep May Safely Graze, from a cantata by Bach, Hark! the Herald Angels Sing, Beautiful Star of Bethlehem, We Three Kings of Orient Are,  and Good Christian Men, Rejoice

Marilyn Brandt Smith’s writings reflect memories of her childhood at the Texas School for the Blind (1955) and at home on a ranch in south Texas.  She taught children in summer programs and adults in year-round rehabilitation centers and in their homes. Marilyn also worked as a counselor and a director of rehabilitation for several agencies across the country. She is now totally blind and lives with my family in a hundred-year-old home in Louisville, Kentucky.

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