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Christmas is one of the most beautiful seasons in the Church that allows us to reflect on the love, the extreme love that our Heavenly Father has for us all.  If we celebrate Christmas the way it was meant to be celebrated, if we understood and lived the true meaning of Christmas, the birth of Jesus Christ, our lives will be transformed.

Unfortunately through the years, this season has become highly commercialized and much of its true meaning has been lost.  For example, Christ who is the reason for the season, has been replaced with a big “X”, and the joyous “Merry Christmas” greeting has been replaced with “season’s greetings” and “happy xmas” and alike, none of which says anything about the great importance of God entering into humanity to save us, his people from our sins.  Otherwise, we would have been eternally dammed without any hope of eternal life. It is our hope that these posts as well as the very special programming we have on FullyCatholic Radio will enlighten your hearts and minds of the true meaning of Christmas.

Christmas is the celebration of the birth of Jesus Christ who came with a specific goal; to be the Saviour of the world.  When this message hits home, when it really registers in your heart and mind, you can’t help but fall on your knees and worship the King of kings and the Lord of lords.

God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen

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Christmas carols have always been a part of Yuletide celebrations.  Whether you're regaling your neighbors with your favorite Christmas songs, or just belting a merry tune at home, one classic carol you're likely to sing is, God Rest Ye Merry, Gentlemen. As many of the older carols, God Rest Ye Merry, Gentlemen was written as a direct response to the music of the church during the fifteenth century. The lyrics were written in Olde English, and it is attributed 'English Traditional'. No one knows who wrote the carol.

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We Three Kings

 The American Episcopal Priest, Rev. John Henry Hopkins Jr., composed both the lyrics and music for this beloved Christmas Carol in 1857, while living in Pennsylvania. It was originally composed, however, as a song for a Christmas pageant – a kind of church-based musical performance, which was first performed as General Theological Seminary in New York City. GTS is distinguished as the oldest Episcopal Seminary in the United States, and is still active and located in Manhattan. When reading the somewhat old-fashioned lyrics, the beginnings of the song in a play helps to make more sense of the lyrics and their style. For example, it explains why the opening lines identify who the singers are, presuming that they are just appearing on “stage” during the performance:

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Away In A Manger

First published in 1885, Away In A Manger was a Christmas carol which happened to be religious. When this song was first published it had only two versus and was called Luther's Cradle Hymn and believed to be written by Martin Luthar for his children. In reality the original author of Away In a Manger is unknown and the music was made by William J. Kirkpatrick in 1895. They believe that this Christmas song may originate from Germany somewhere.

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The First Noel

Little is known about the classic, and much loved, Christmas carol The First Noel. It is an English Folk song that tells the story of Christ's birth. The verses sing of the adventure of the three Wise men who followed a shining star to witness the savior's birth at Bethlehem. The chorus of The First Noel chants the word "Noel" to stress its importance. The word "Noel" is French for Christmas. The French wish someone a Merry Christmas by saying "Joyeux Noel". However, the Christmas carol was originally written as "The First Nowell", using the Anglo-Saxon spelling of the word. It was later changed because of French influence in England after the Norman invasion.

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Angels We have Heard On High

This is definitely one of my favorite Christmas Carols. It always brings me great joy whenever I sing it. Angels We Have Heard On High is considered one of the many French carols sung during Christmas. The French is Les Anges dans Nos Campagnes.  The hymn was translated by Bishop James Chadwick on 1862 and published in The Crown of Jesus Music. It also was printed in Holy Family Hymns in 1860. Bishop James Chadwick wrote the words and the music was written by Edwin S. Barnes from a traditional French Christmas hymn.

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Hark The Herald Angels Sing

This song has a great and illustrious history. If there ever were a song that had direct ties to Methodist heritage "Hark The Herald" would be it. The song was written by the brother of the Methodist leader John Wesley. The name of the songwriter was Charles Wesley. The music itself was composed by Felix Mendelssohn. There are people out there who say the music was written to celebrate the invention of the printing press. I have not been able to confirm this fact, but it certainly is something interesting to discuss. One of the original verses said herk how all the welking rings, glory to the king of kings.

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O Little Town Of Bethlehem

In 1865, an American Episcopal Priest by the name of Phillips Brooks (1835-1893) visited the largely Christian Arab town of Bethlehem in what was then Palestinian territories under Ottomon (Turkish) administration. He was so taken with the experience of actually visiting the site of the traditional birthplace of Jesus, that within three years, he composed the poetry that would become the famous Christmas Carol, "O Little Town of Bethlehem". Although it is sung to different tunes in America and Britain, the tune that is most familiar to Americans is the tune called "St. Louis".

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What Child Is This

"What child is this who, laid to rest, on Mary's lap is sleeping?' is the beginning of a favorite Christmas carol. The words to "What Child Is This" are relatively modern, and were written in 1865 by William Chatterton Dix. They were first printed in "Christmas Carols New and Old," put together by Henry Ramsden Bramley and John Stainer and published by Novello, Ewer and Company in London in 1871.

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O Holy Night

O Holy Night which is mostly a Christmas song was written by a french man named Placide Cappeau de Roquemaure in 1847. This song is often sung in churches and Christmas carolers. Originally O Holy night was a poem which was then later had music written for it by Adolphe Charles Adams whom was a friend of Mr. Cappeau. Eventually this poem and song was translated into English around the 1812 to 1893 area by John Sullivan Dwight who was an Unitarian minister, Mr. Dwight was also a very busy man doing other things to promote himself.

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Silent Night, Holy Night

This carol, arguably the most loved of any, was first heard on Christmas Eve in 1818 in a church near Salzburg, in Austria. The words were by a priest, Josef Mohr, and the music by a schoolmaster, Franz Zaver Gruber. The first performance was perhaps underscored, as the instrument was a guitar.  Since then, the carol has been translated into many languages and has been sung all over the world.

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