It actually looks like winter hereabouts, for a change–a rare and heavy December snowfall from last weekend still covers much of the city, and temperatures have been just above freezing all week.
Right now I’m engaging in the first of my Christmas Eve traditions: Listening to the service of Nine Lessons & Carols from King’s College, Cambridge, on public radio. They’re singing the lovely Harold Darke setting of Christina Rossetti’s poem “In the bleak midwinter” and have just launched into a rousing accompanied version of “Personent Hodie”–I think this is the setting by Gustav Holst.
At this time of year, nothing beats the English carol tradition for me. English devotion to the Virgin and celebration of the Incarnation, expressed in song, epitomize Advent and Christmas for me, from the marvelous medieval texts celebrating the Blessed Virgin to the twentieth-century settings of them from British composers. I can listen to carols with the classic descants by David Wilcox over and over and never complain, never wish for anything different (even if I can no longer sing those descants without, er, straining myself).
Tonight, another tradition: Midnight Mass at the church where my husband is the organist. The choir will be performing a Mozart Mass accompanied by organ and strings, along with a musical prelude. It will be well after one in the morning before we get home and settle into bed, intoxicated with musical ecstasy. Fortunately, we won’t be awakened by small eager children at oh-god-hundred; there are advantages to having one’s offspring grow up and do their own Christmas shopping. *g*
And now, we’re off to enact another personal Christmas tradition: Shopping for wrapping supplies so we can wrap gifts at the last minute. Happy Christmas, everyone!