As we approach Christmas, we pray in the preface to the Eucharistic Prayer about St. John the Baptist.
Perhaps you have noticed a small but notable change in the translation. The old Sacramentary had it that John the Baptist was “Christ’s herald.”
True enough; beautiful enough. But now, with the new translation, we pray that St. John “sang of Christ’s coming.”
The Christ appeared on earth, and the holy prophet sang. Locusts in his belly, camel hair around his waist, the Jordan River rushing by, and the desert wind blowing: he sang.
Can we not imagine that the Baptist sang with everything Johnnie Cash, Roy Orbison, Placido Domingo, Ray Charles, and Eddie Vedder all have to offer in their voices—rolled into one masculine melody on the wind?
The coming of Christ moves those who recognize Him to break out into song. Could be a Tallis Scholars song, or a Pogues song, a hymn, a chant, a warble. Joy and love sing.
Many beauties of the earth touch the undying, simple perfection of heaven—but to sing does so in a uniquely immediate way.
God rest ye merry. Baby Jesus comes tomorrow night. It will be time to sing.