Sunday, December 26, 2010

Favorite Carols, resolving, and not (resolving)

Two part blog...

Part 1:

It's always been clear to me what my favorite carol is... Once in Royal David's City, and I've been contemplating why this is. Here's the first verse (part of it is that I like the lyrics):

Once in royal David's city
stood a lowly cattle shed
where a mother laid her baby
in a manger for his bed.
Mary was that mother mild.
Jesus Christ her little child.

A carol can be defined as a joyful religious song celebrating the birth of Jesus Christ. Now if you don't know this carol, you'll have to trust what I'm saying. My favorite parts of this carol, and why I like it, is how it resolves (defined as "settles") at different points. It resolves in pitch, in the first line, from "in" to "royal," and in the second line from "a" to "lowly." It's a musical thing - when I break it down, I might wonder where this song is going and then it resolves from the second to the third syllable in each line. And in a sense, as we move from Advent to Christmas, we have resolution, or settling. We have been waiting, and Christ is born. And it's truly beautiful.

Part 2:

I thought everyone had a favorite carol, so I started taking a survey and I've been wrong - many people like many carols, for whatever reason. When I look at most carols, they resolve. And this led me to this strange thought that in life, or in death, there is not always resolution.

Perhaps this thought is because of the unexpected, sudden passing of my aunt. I was wondering if she had a favorite hymn but she couldn't be a part of my poll. So much of her passing is this feeling of things not being resolved - she did "go out on top," but ??? As our family went through Christmas, things were a bit odd. I wouldn't normally think "what was Aunt Dot's favorite hymn?" as I considered mine. I wouldn't have strange thoughts like that I'll never receive her Christmas card, although they were probably done. I probably wouldn't bring her into as many thoughts as I have had. And because of the unexpected nature of the whole thing, my thoughts wouldn't be so much of the kind of "what if?" or "I wonder." Christmas seems to "resolve" so much and I've been in this strange sense of inconclusiveness.

Part 1 resolves and part 2 has not, although over time it will. Perhaps in a strange way, the words seem to lack of resolution the following carol. Resolution seems questioned.

I wonder as I wander out under the sky,
How Jesus the Savior did come for to die.
For poor on'ry people like you and like I...
I wonder as I wander out under the sky.

I'm also wondering, as I wander a bit.

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