Joyous Interlude

Mystical Nativity

Mystical Nativity
Sandro Botticelli, c.1500

Last night, as I was preparing a post about travel related stocking-stuffers, I experienced what can only be described as spiritual ecstasy while listening to Bach’s Christmas Oratorio. I was moved near to tears by the joy and beauty of it.

I’m sorry to say that I can be a bit of a humbug at Christmas and rarely get in the spirit this early. Usually, sometime after the middle of the month, my Grinchy heart bursts its chains and swells all out of proportion. Obsessive baking, shopping and decorating ensues. It’s the lights and music that get me and especially the 3-hour Christmas Oratorio by JS Bach. I’m sure the opening chorus of the 1st cantata is the most joyful thing I have ever heard. Please listen and celebrate, whatever your tradition, use headphones for the best effect. For me, it’s about life’s hope and promise.

This is the text of the opening chorus, written to be performed on Christmas day, 1734.

Exult, rejoice, rise up and praise these days,
glorify what the Highest has done today!
 Abandon despair, banish laments,
sound forth full of delight and happiness!
Serve the Highest with glorious choruses,
let us honor the name of the Supreme Ruler!

The stocking-stuffers post can wait until next week.

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