As we being our proximate preparation for Christmas, with the novena of the O Antiphons, and, if you are so inclined, the meditations of Saint Alphonsus as recommended by Father Attard, you may be intrigued that this year, Jupiter and Saturn, the two largest planets in our harmonious solar system, will align for the first time in eight centuries – apparently this evening, December 21, the winter solstice – to form a ‘Christmas Star’. A sign in the heavens to light us on our way.
The earliest astronomers, and perhaps many modern ones, saw the celestial spheres as harmonically arranged by God, according to musical intervals. So thought the great Pythagoras and Kepler, and why not? Even Tolkien had his allegorical ‘God’ in the Silmarillion ‘sing’ creation into existence. So, For some music to lift you on your way in these oft-oppressive times, here is one of my favorites hymns, such in full harmonic choir in the Lichfield cathedral. Yes, taken from us by the Anglicans, and the hymn is Wesleyan, but we can adopt what is good, at least into our paraliturgical celebrations:
For a delightful mediaeval folk version of the same hymn, which you might play at home with kith and kin:
And I could not help but add another couple of hymns, done in country style by the aforementioned Christian family band, the Petersens. Here they are, adopting O Come, O Come Emmanuel, as Catholic a hymn as you get, written by monks in the midst of the Middle Ages, with a Gregorian chant melody that is embedded in earliest mists of our Church’s history. All the way to good ol’ country, with banjo, mandolin and dobro. I hope they all stay as innocent, pure and full of the love of Christ, as seems here: