nativity

Christmastide

We are still in Christmastide. The liturgical season extends past the Epiphany to commemoration of Jesus’ baptism by John in the Jordan. This year, that takes us to January 9, 2017. Christmas remains with us until then. It is easier for me to talk about Christmas when the day itself—the gaiety, feasting, gift-giving—is done. Christians are an Easter people, not a Christmas one. Christianity is an Easter faith, one that recognizes the splendor of the Nativity only in the light of the Resurrection. Continue Reading
The Cherry Tree Carol

Titian. Madonna of the Cherries (c. 1515). Kunsthistorsches Museum, Vienna The Cherry Tree Carol is a seasonal jewel. It dates back to the cycle of mystery plays performed in Coventry during the Feast of Corpus Christi, around the year 1400. History has brought to life various renditions of it, all of them indebted to the vagaries of memory, an era’s substitution of newer phrasings for antiquated ones, or simply the preferences of singers. Folklorists, liturgists and musicologists agree that it is really more accurate to speak of a Cherry Tree series than of a single carol. Continue Reading