Wednesday, December 20, 2006

Good King Wenceslas

A member of Rhonda's ward asked me to sing a part in "Good King Wenceslas" at the ladies Relief Society Christmas devotional. I can't tell you the last time I sang in an LDS ward, but I agreed to participate in exchange for the good press in the community. :)

I always associated King Wenceslas with Christmas, but I never knew the story. Actually, the Feast of Stephen mentioned in the song falls the day after Christmas on December 26, and "King" Wenceslas was actually a duke in one of the ancient kingdoms of Middle Europe. He was known for his kindness to the poor and for promoting Christianity to the people of that region. I understand he died as a martyr for the faith before the age of 30.

The ladies did a marvelous job describing the origins of many well-known and beloved Christmas hymns. Many songs came as a result of direct inspiration, and several even appeared in dreams. It reminded me of something I once heard my father say when I was still a youth. He said all songs come from dreams, even the ones we hear on the radio or in church. The songs have a spirit, even if we don't know it. He mainly referred to Native American songs, but he included all songs in his belief.

Whatever the case, the Spirit of Christmas certainly lives in the music.

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