Regular readers will note that I was excited that this was the title I’d be singing on the day of my ordination. However, I forgot to adjust the spreadsheet for Light of Ages and of Nations and Amazing Grace – two hymns that have identical words but different melodies or arrangements so were covered on the same day. Whoops. Saturday’s hymn is just fine, but not quite the synchronistic moment I thought I was having.
But still, here we go!
O Sanctissima! A carol I barely know and have absolutely no connection to.
Yeah, I know.
Look. We all grew up listening to particular albums full of Christmas music. Our heavy rotation included Nat King Cole, the Boston Pops, Sandler & Young, Ed Ames, Burl Ives, John Denver and the Muppets, and several of the Firestone Christmas albums – particularly Julie Andrews. Oh, and Allan Sherman – because even though there weren’t any Christmas songs, we always needed a break and Sherman’s parodies are a perennial family favorite. But in that rotation, O Sanctissima never showed up, and I don’t remember ever hearing it in church.
So… I don’t really know it, and I never choose it.
It is, on the other hand, actually a joyful Christmas song, unlike the all too often sung Joy to the World, which is actually about the second coming. We’ll talk more about Joy to the World next Saturday – but if you want a joyful song to celebrate the birth of Jesus, here you go:
O thou joyful day, O thou blessed day, gladsome, peaceful Christmas-tide. Earth’s hope awaken, Love life has taken. Joy, O, joy to all at Christmas-tide.
O sanctissima, O sanctissima, gladsome, peaceful Christmas-tide. Light now is beaming, our souls redeeming. Joy, O, joy to all at Christmas-tide.
Happy, joyful, gladsome, Latin. A good song for this gloomy, rainy, too full of hard news day.
We could use a little joy.