5 Loathed Sings


OK... A few weeks ago I started a rant about hymns that I mildly disliked... But I promised that I would return to the special category of Christmas Carols... Strangely, I have no problems with the anomalous "bleak midwinter" type stuff... That is merely contextual. I'm also not refering to those songs that are explicitly a-religious. There is a place for them. No... my real ire is reserved for some very popular carols. So here are my five loathed sings:
5) While shepherds watched their flocks by night (Nahum Tate): Since this is sung to the dullest tune in history its 6 verses can drag somewhat, but my wife pointed out a few years ago that it can also be sung to "Lyngham" (the best tune for "O for a thousand tongues to sing"). Since then it has been back in the good books.

4) Once in Royal David's City (Cecil Frances Alexander): 90% of this offering by Stroke City's most famous hymnwriter is fabulous... But I can only assume she got bored by the time she was writing the last line... "All in white shall wait around." An eternal, colourless waiting room... Really inspiring vision of the afterlife...

3) The Holly and the Ivy (Emily Chisholm): It is drivel. It perhaps has a place in the panoply of seasonal songs, but as a barely Christianised pagan Yuletide song it has no real place within Christian worship... Not even in lighting the advent candles.

2) Christmas is a time to love (Ernie and Debbie Rettino): As is every other time of year! This piece of saccharine pap is not as well known as the others, but is churned out by Sunday Schools and Primary Schools all over the place. It stands to represent a whole range of similar tinsel festooned nonsense. But anything, including this, that stops them singing my final choice is OK by me...
1) Away in a manger (Anonymous): Words cannot do justice to how much I detest this trite tosh, inflicted on parents and grandparents repeatedly throughout the Advent Season by tiny tots in teatowels. One year I heard/sang it 14 times in the ten days before Christmas... "No crying he makes..." Then how did he communicate hunger or discomfort to his parents... telepathy! The little Lord Jesus may not cry, but I will if I have to sing this more than 2 or 3 times this year. It's a good job the author is anonymous, because I would want words with their descendents!

Have a wonderful Christmas... and may it not be spoiled by any of the above... But characterised by the original Christmas carol, sung by the angels:

Glory to God in the heavenly heights, Peace to all men and women on earth who please him.

Luke 2:14 (Message)

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