Advent and Christmas Eve

https://auntyuta.com/2014/12/03/christmas-songs-and-some-german-christmas-customs/

Last year I published this blog with some texts of Christmas songs that we used to sing on the four Sundays before Christmas. We have 2015 now and this year we have the first Sunday of advent on the 29th of November, which is only a couple of weeks away. Here now is what I published last year for advent:

The Christmas songs, that I remember from my childhood, have a special meaning for me. Some songs were very joyful, others more reflective, that is ‘besinnlich’. Besinnlich meant we became deeply and seriously thoughtful while singing these songs . This kind of singing appealed to me. Advent was the only time of the year when my family would sing some songs together. And it went on for four Sunday afternoons in a row. After the fourth Sunday of Advent some serious preparations for Christmas Eve started. We children were not included in these preparations. As children we therefore became highly impatient while we were waiting for Christmas Eve – “Heiligabend” .

“Stille Nacht, heilige Nacht,” and “O du fröhliche” were very popular songs during my childhood. (I was born in 1934.)

German

Stille Nacht, heilige Nacht,
Alles schläft; einsam wacht
Nur das traute hochheilige Paar.
Holder Knabe im lockigen Haar,
Schlaf in himmlischer Ruh!
Schlaf in himmlischer Ruh!

Stille Nacht, heilige Nacht,
Hirten erst kundgemacht
Durch der Engel Halleluja,
Tönt es laut von fern und nah:
Christ, der Retter ist da!
Christ, der Retter ist da!

Stille Nacht, heilige Nacht,
Gottes Sohn, o wie lacht
Lieb’ aus deinem göttlichen Mund
, Da uns schlägt die rettende Stund’.
Christ, in deiner Geburt!
Christ, in deiner Geburt!

Words: Joseph Mohr, 1816
Music: Franz Xaver Gruber, 1818

English

Silent night, holy night
All is calm all is bright
‘Round yon virgin Mother and Child
Holy infant so tender and mild
Sleep in heavenly peace
Sleep in heavenly peace

Silent night, holy night,
Shepherds quake at the sight.
Glories stream from heaven afar,
Heav’nly hosts sing Alleluia;
Christ the Savior is born
Christ the Savior is born

Silent night, holy night,
Son of God, love’s pure light.
Radiant beams from Thy holy face,
With the dawn of redeeming grace,
Jesus, Lord, at Thy birth
Jesus, Lord, at Thy birth

http://german.about.com/od/christmas/a/StilleNacht.htm

O du fröhliche
This very popular German Christmas carol has Italian origins. In 1788 the German philosopher, theologian, and poet Johann Gottfried von Herder(1744-1803) brought the melody to Germany after a trip to Italy. Originally a Sicilian fisherman’s song, the melody was used for the Latin hymn “O Sanctissima.” Around 1816 Johannes Daniel Falk (1768-1826) wrote the German lyrics for what soon became one of the most popular GermanWeihnachtslieder. The English version is known as “O How Joyfully.”


http://german.about.com/library/blmus_dufroehlich.htm

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O du fröhliche
O You Merry (Christmastide)

MELODIE: Sizilianisches Fischerlied – Johann Gottfried von Herder (1788)
TEXT: Johannes Daniel Falk (1816)

DEUTSCH
Johannes Daniel Falk, 1816O du fröhliche, o du selige,
Gnadenbringende Weihnachtszeit!
Welt ging verloren,
Christ ist geboren,
Freue, freue dich, o Christenheit!O du fröhliche, o du selige,
Gnadenbringende Weihnachtszeit!
Christ ist erschienen,
Uns zu versöhnen,
Freue, freue dich, o Christenheit!

O du fröhliche, o du selige,
Gnadenbringende Weihnachtszeit!
Himmlische Heere
Jauchzen dir Ehre,
Freue, freue dich, o Christenheit!

ENGLISH (lit. prose)
See poetic version belowO you merry, o you blessed,
Merciful Christmastide!
The world was lost,
Christ was born,
Rejoice, rejoice o Christendom!O you merry, o you blessed,
Merciful Christmastide!
Christ appeared,
To reconcile us,
Rejoice, rejoice o Christendom!

O you merry, o you blessed,
Merciful Christmastide!
Heavenly hosts,
Exult your honor,
Rejoice, rejoice o Christendom!

LISTEN > Melody for “O du fröhliche” (midi version)


English poetic version, author unknown
O How Joyfully (O du fröhliche)

O how joyfully, o how blessedly,
Comes the glory of Christmastime!
To a world so lost in sin,
Christ the Savior, enters in:
Praise Him, praise Him Christians, evermore!

O how joyfully, o how blessedly,
Comes the glory of Christmastime!
Jesus, born in lowly stall,
With His grace redeems us all:
Praise Him, praise Him Christians, evermore!

O how joyfully, o how blessedly,
Comes the glory of Christmastime!
Hosts of angels from on high,
Sing, rejoicing, in the sky:
Praise Him, praise Him Christians, evermore!

One Christmas Eve, the one in 1946, is stuck in my memory as a very bad Christmas Eve. It was the Christmas Eve when my father was not allowed to see us children. I wrote about it the way I remember it with some imaginary conversations added to it:

https://auntyuta.com/2012/02/26/christmas-eve-1946/

Christmas Songs and some German Christmas Customs

http://german.about.com/library/weekly/aa113098.htm

German and Austrian Christmas customs have spread throughout the world wherever Christmas (Weihnachten) is celebrated. From the Christmas tree (Tannenbaum) to “Silent Night” (“Stille Nacht“) and on to the Advent calendar (Adventskalender), people around the globe have adopted many traditions that began in the German-speaking world.

The Christmas songs, that I remember from my childhood, have a special meaning for me. Some songs were very joyful, others more reflective, that is ‘besinnlich’. Besinnlich meant we became deeply and seriously thoughtful while singing these songs . This kind of singing appealed to me. Advent was the only time of the year when my family would sing some songs together. And it went on for four Sunday afternoons in a row. After the fourth Sunday of Advent some serious preparations for Christmas Eve started. We children were not included in these preparations. As children we therefore became highly impatient while we were waiting for Christmas Eve – “Heiligabend” .

“Stille Nacht, heilige Nacht,” and “O du fröhliche” were very popular songs during my childhood. (I was born in 1934.)

German

Stille Nacht, heilige Nacht,
Alles schläft; einsam wacht
Nur das traute hochheilige Paar.
Holder Knabe im lockigen Haar,
Schlaf in himmlischer Ruh!
Schlaf in himmlischer Ruh!

Stille Nacht, heilige Nacht,
Hirten erst kundgemacht
Durch der Engel Halleluja,
Tönt es laut von fern und nah:
Christ, der Retter ist da!
Christ, der Retter ist da!

Stille Nacht, heilige Nacht,
Gottes Sohn, o wie lacht
Lieb’ aus deinem göttlichen Mund
, Da uns schlägt die rettende Stund’.
Christ, in deiner Geburt!
Christ, in deiner Geburt!

Words: Joseph Mohr, 1816
Music: Franz Xaver Gruber, 1818

English

Silent night, holy night
All is calm all is bright
‘Round yon virgin Mother and Child
Holy infant so tender and mild
Sleep in heavenly peace
Sleep in heavenly peace

Silent night, holy night,
Shepherds quake at the sight.
Glories stream from heaven afar,
Heav’nly hosts sing Alleluia;
Christ the Savior is born
Christ the Savior is born

Silent night, holy night,
Son of God, love’s pure light.
Radiant beams from Thy holy face,
With the dawn of redeeming grace,
Jesus, Lord, at Thy birth
Jesus, Lord, at Thy birth

http://german.about.com/od/christmas/a/StilleNacht.htm

O du fröhliche
This very popular German Christmas carol has Italian origins. In 1788 the German philosopher, theologian, and poet Johann Gottfried von Herder (1744-1803) brought the melody to Germany after a trip to Italy. Originally a Sicilian fisherman’s song, the melody was used for the Latin hymn “O Sanctissima.” Around 1816 Johannes Daniel Falk (1768-1826) wrote the German lyrics for what soon became one of the most popular German Weihnachtslieder. The English version is known as “O How Joyfully.”


O du fröhliche
O You Merry (Christmastide)

MELODIE: Sizilianisches Fischerlied – Johann Gottfried von Herder (1788)
TEXT: Johannes Daniel Falk (1816)

DEUTSCH
Johannes Daniel Falk, 1816O du fröhliche, o du selige,
Gnadenbringende Weihnachtszeit!
Welt ging verloren,
Christ ist geboren,
Freue, freue dich, o Christenheit!

 

O du fröhliche, o du selige,
Gnadenbringende Weihnachtszeit!
Christ ist erschienen,
Uns zu versöhnen,
Freue, freue dich, o Christenheit!

O du fröhliche, o du selige,
Gnadenbringende Weihnachtszeit!
Himmlische Heere
Jauchzen dir Ehre,
Freue, freue dich, o Christenheit!

ENGLISH (lit. prose)
See poetic version below
O you merry, o you blessed,
Merciful Christmastide!
The world was lost,
Christ was born,
Rejoice, rejoice o Christendom!

 

O you merry, o you blessed,
Merciful Christmastide!
Christ appeared,
To reconcile us,
Rejoice, rejoice o Christendom!

O you merry, o you blessed,
Merciful Christmastide!
Heavenly hosts,
Exult your honor,
Rejoice, rejoice o Christendom!

LISTEN > Melody for “O du fröhliche” (midi version)


English poetic version, author unknown
O How Joyfully (O du fröhliche)

O how joyfully, o how blessedly,
Comes the glory of Christmastime!
To a world so lost in sin,
Christ the Savior, enters in:
Praise Him, praise Him Christians, evermore!

O how joyfully, o how blessedly,
Comes the glory of Christmastime!
Jesus, born in lowly stall,
With His grace redeems us all:
Praise Him, praise Him Christians, evermore!

O how joyfully, o how blessedly,
Comes the glory of Christmastime!
Hosts of angels from on high,
Sing, rejoicing, in the sky:
Praise Him, praise Him Christians, evermore!

http://german.about.com/library/blmus_dufroehlich.htm

First of Advent 2014

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Peter found a series of old German Christmas songs in the computer. It was very rewarding to be able to listen to all these songs while celebrating the First of Advent.

A picture from the computer of the Vienna Boy's Choir singing German Christmas songs.
A picture from the computer of the Vienna Boy’s Choir singing German Christmas songs.

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We listened to a lot of Christmas songs by different groups and artists. They all sang the German texts that we are still quite familiar with, bringing back memories to what it was like when we were children. Here some names of the songs: O Tannenbaum, O du fröhliche, Ave Maria, Kling Glöckchen kling, Leise rieselt der Schnee, and so on.

We had tea and German ‘Oblaten Lebkuchen’.

Then I could not help myself taking a few more pictures!

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Christmas

Following is something I wrote in November 2007. It sounds like I could have written this today, only now I am four years older!


Time is running out . . . .

At age seventy-three, how much time do I have left? With every year time seems to be getting more precious. Whatever I still want to do in life, I should be doing it soon, very soon. There is no need to panic. It is just this feeling in me that I ought not to waste time; in other words, I should make the best use of it I possibly can. Making time for reflections as I do right now, I do not regard this as a waste of time. It nourishes my soul, it makes me look forward to spend the day in a productive way. There are the Christmas preparations to consider. How can I keep them to a minimum with that special Christmas Spirit in mind? Some spiritual songs usually help me along to get into the mood. Even in shopping centres the odd Christmas song can bring about temporary elation, a feeling of peace and comfort in a buzzing shopping centre! And even if this sort of mood happens only for brief moments while doing the shopping , it is still appreciated and helps to cope with the mad commercialism that surrounds us everywhere.

The special food at Christmas I like very much. On the other hand I hate it, if food is being wasted. I rather have not too much food of everything. How awful, if food has to be thrown out because we cannot keep it fresh enough in the Australian heat once it leaves the fridge. There may be one and a half dozen people at our family gathering. People bring food along. I would like to keep the food that I am going to provide to a strict minimum. Unfortunately I know already that this is an impossibility at Christmas time! I suppose I’ll just have to grin and bear it. I am determined to make the most of the Christmas Spirit where-ever I may come across it and enjoy the closeness of family and friends. Indeed I am looking forward to a Joyful and Happy Christmas. I did not always feel joyful and happy at Christmas time: There are some happy memories about Christmas, but there are also some very unhappy ones . . . . May the truly happy hours at Christmas time be plentiful and greatly outnumber the sad and lonely hours! This is what I wish for everyone.