Wednesday, April 18, 2007

Bethlehem Blues

My children’s current favourite for singing in the car is, season notwithstanding, “Hark the Herald Angels Sing”. They see no good reason for restricting such a good tune to one small section of the year. I may be able to ban the playing of the Christmas Carol CD outside December and January, but I can hardly censor their car singalong material. So it is that in our warm autumn April sunshine, I am driving along with youngest to pick up the others from school, belting out .. joyful all ye nations rise..” at the top of our voices, slightly out of tune with each other.

Youngest thinks about her next request carefully.
“The one with Bethlehem in” she says.
I need more of a clue here. Quite a few Christmas carols fit the description.
“ With Jesus in”
Not much clearer.
“and Mary and Joseph.”

This is as far as she can take me to identify what she’s after. Tentatively I strike up “Oh little town of Bethlehem” but know I’ve got it wrong when a resounding silence wafts from the back of the car. “O come all ye faithful” gets a little hum of recognition but no wholehearted acclaim.

It isn’t until the return journey that the puzzle is resolved. Big sister is humming something under her breath.
“That’s the one Mummy!”
I ask her to sing a little louder so I can hear over the shake, rattle and roll of our car’s personal anthem. It turns out to be “Away in the Manger”.
I sing it all the way through without turning up a single reference to Bethlehem, even in the third verse.


  1. I love this. I get these kinds of directives all the time. Isn't it funny how Christmas carols strike such a chord with children?

  2. Just wait till its the "Jingle Bells" tune!... it just stays in your head....FOREVER!!!!!!

  3. Jingle Bells is also on the Top 5 hit list, but the worst is when they can't agree on a song and two rival 'tunes' are vying for air-time

  4. That's just brilliant. Your kids have great taste - Hark the Herald has always been one of my favourites! I went to a school that held a huge public carol service each year - from the 10-yr olds to the 17-yr olds - and we all had to memorise the words. I think one day in my dotage I will have forgotten everything else but will still be able to do a word-perfect version of the third verse of Oh Come All Ye Faithful in Latin.

  5. My youngest daughter, still insists that I sing her Silent Night, every night as a lullaby. I must have started this a Christmas over 6 years ago...

  6. How Great! They are providing Christmas for you in the cooler part of the year -- just like you wished for.

    Have fun

  7. Why not. Christmas songs have such tender melodies and soothing words. How lucky you are to have children who sing instead of scream!


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