The Reason for Christmas Carols
"Look! The virgin will conceive a child! She will give birth to a son, and they will call him Immanuel, which means ‘God is with us.’"
"Jesus was born in Bethlehem in Judea, during the reign of King Herod. About that time some wise men from eastern lands arrived in Jerusalem, asking, “Where is the newborn king of the Jews? We saw his star as it rose, and we have come to worship him.”"
"…but the angel reassured them. “Don’t be afraid!” he said. “I bring you good news that will bring great joy to all people. The Savior—yes, the Messiah, the Lord—has been born today in Bethlehem, the city of David!"
"And you will recognize him by this sign: You will find a baby wrapped snugly in strips of cloth, lying in a manger."
"For God loved the world so much that he gave his one and only Son, so that everyone who believes in him will not perish but have eternal life."
The Meaning of Christmas
...Having carefully investigated everything from the beginning I have decided to write a careful account for you ...so you can be certain of the truth of everything you were taught.
...God sent the angel Gabriel to Nazareth, to a virgin named Mary ...appearing to her he said 'Don't be affraid, Mary, for you have found favor with God. You will conceive and give birth to a son, and you will cal him Jesus. He will be very great and will be called the Son of God'.
At that time the Roman emperor, Augustus, decreed that a census should be taken throughout the Roman Empire ...And because Joseph was a descendant of King David, he had to go to Bethlehem in Judea ...taking with him Mary, his fiancee, who was now obviously pregnant.
And while they were there, the time came for her baby to be born. She gave birth to her first child, a son. She wrapped him snugly in strips of cloth and laid him in a manger, because there was no lodging available for them.
Luke 1:3-4; 26-32 & 2:1-7
- New Living Translation
Carols By Candlelight
Australia is the home of ‘Carols by Candlelight’, a tradition started by radio announcer Norman Banks Melbourne’s 3KZ in 1937.
After Banks saw a woman listening to carols alone by candlelight, he decided to do something to relieve the loneliness and isolation some feel during the holidays.
He announced a community carol sing for anyone who wanted to join in. Starting with a handful of people, the Christmas Eve event in Melbourne has grown to an annual concert held in the Myer Music Bowl, raising money for various charities for over 76 years.
The concept has grown in popularity throughout Australia, with outdoor concerts held at night in towns and cities in the weeks leading up to Christmas. Churches, councils and other community groups usually arrange these.
Why do we sing Carols, and where did they come from?
The songs we know as carols were originally communal songs sung during celebrations like harvest tide and Easter, as well as Christmas. It was only later that carols begun to be sung in church, and to be specifically associated with Christmas, celebrating the birth of Christ and the events around it.
The first Christmas hymns that we know of appeared in fourth century Rome, and would have been sung in Latin...
In the thirteenth century, in France, Germany, and particularly Italy, under the influence of Francis of Assisi, a strong tradition of popular Christmas songs in native languages developed.
Christmas carols in English first appeared in a 1426 work of John Awdlay, a Shropshire chaplain, who listed twenty five "carols of Cristemas", probably sung by groups of people who went from house to house. In England and other countries, such as Poland, Romania and Bulgaria, there is a tradition of Christmas caroling (earlier known as wassailing), in which groups of singers travel from house to house singing carols, for which they are often rewarded with gifts, money, mince pies, or a glass of an appropriate beverage. Money collected in this way is now normally given to charity.
Generally, the singing of Christmas carols in churches did not become popular until the 19th century.
The first appearance in print of "God Rest Ye Merry, Gentlemen", "The First Noel", "I Saw Three Ships" and "Hark! The Herald Angels Sing" was in “Christmas Carols Ancient and Modern” (1833), however the words of some date back to the 16th century at least.
Other still-popular carols include “Joy to the World”, composed by Isaac Watts, “O Come All Ye Faithful”, with words originating in the 13th century, and “Silent Night”, first performed in the Church of St.Nicholas in Austria on December 24th, 1818.
“Jingle Bells”, “O Little Town of Bethlehem” and “Away In A Manger” were written in the United States.
The Hanna Park Carols Committee welcomes you to join in the festive season with the community of North Richmond singing carols, meeting with neighbors and enjoying free food. Watch the kids enjoying all the free activities and their amazement seeing Santa arriving by helicopter. The evening will finish off with a giant fireworks display.